Foreign aid from the United States is a very controversial topic in today’s world. There are many advantages to foreign aid, however there are many disadvantages as well. Some of these disadvantages include countries becoming dependant on the US, isolationist ideals on the rise, and different types of aid backfiring on the US. On top of that, the US already has a variety of issues that it needs to be focusing on before assisting countries in need. There is also a historical aspect of when aid was given and not well received. Foreign aid from the United should not be increased because the negative impacts outweigh the positive impacts.
One of the main issues with foreign aid is that the US needs to be focusing on fixing its own issues rather than other country’s issues. These issues include public education, public safety, health care, and debt. The US is currently 22.6 trillion dollars in debt and our GDP is much lower than our debt margin. Spending money on other countries will not help with that. On top of that, not enough funding is going towards public education and health problems. According to Pew Research Center, recent PISA results show that the US scored 38th out of 71 countries in math. As for health related problems, “chronic underfunding has presented a consistent obstacle. In 2017, public health represented just 2.5 percent — $274 per person — of all health spending in the country” (Farberman). There needs to be a significant increase in funds given to education and health problems to help fix these issues. These are only a few examples of how the US could be spending its money and resources.
From a historical viewpoint, there have been instances where foreign aid has caused more problems than benefits. For example, the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan was a plan for the US to send assistance to rebuild Europe after WWII. While it seemed like a good idea, the plan ended up causing major tensions between the US and the Soviet Union and contributed to the Cold War. The Marshall Plan is also an example of how countries didn’t actually want help from the US but the US gave it to them. This brings up the topic of Isolationist ideals on the rise. Currently, America is in an isolationist state, meaning that the people would rather focus on internal issues than foreign issues. Not only is increased foreign aid detrimental based off history, but it’s also not what the people want.
In the current world, we see even more instances of foreign aid backfiring. This could mean that the money provided was used incorrectly, resources were not put to good use, or that the assistance end up being ineffective. According to the website Countable.us, in Africa, prescription drugs provided by the United States were resold on the black market. It goes on to say that “thirty percent of all aid in 2016 went to four countries: Iraq and Afghanistan, where we remain at war, and Egypt and Israel, to which we’ve been funneling significant aid since the 1970s.” These two examples prove that the US is supplying other countries with money, military support, and health resources and it is making and insignificant difference. What’s the point in wasting resources when they won’t be put to good use?
Another reason that increasing foreign aid is a bad idea is that it encourages other countries to become dependant on the US. The Adam Smith Institute states that “Foreign aid risks making Third World countries dependent on handouts by prioritising ‘short-term and immediate results’ instead of ‘lasting change,” and later explains that we should be assisting them to “do things themselves, not doing things for them.” Once a country becomes reliant on foreign aid, it stops being reliant on its agricultural markets and businesses which disrupts the economy. This ends up making the country’s issues worse, meaning it needs more aid, and, in turn, damaging the economy of both countries. A possible solution to this would be to focus more on foreign investment rather than foreign aid. This would mean creating trade and business with the country rather than direct assistance. This would help the country become more independent while also mutually benefiting the US.
In conclusion, the United States should not substantially increase foreign aid given to developing nations because it would be detrimental to all parties involved. The US already has many of its own issues that need substantial funding and resources. There are both past and present examples of foreign aid backfiring and causing more harm than help. In addition to that, too much aid promotes an unhealthy dependency from developing nations and goes against isolationist ideals. A solution to this issue would be to focus on investing in foreign countries rather than simply giving unreciprocated aid.