On Aug. 6, 2015, the Republican presidential candidates participated in the first Republican Primary Debate of the 2016 election cycle. The top 10 candidates in the polls debated at 9:00 PM EST. Although the candidates did talk extensively about foreign policy, foreign aid was not mentioned much at all. One candidate, Senator Rand Paul, did mention his views on foreign aid and his potential foreign aid policies.
Senator Rand Paul says that, according to his proposed budgets, he will take a “meat axe” to foreign aid. Paul also thinks that we should not give aid to countries that hate America and “burn our flag.” Additionally, Paul thinks that we should only give aid to our allies when we are running budget surpluses. However, Rand Paul stated that since America is in debt, we are not in a position to give aid to other countries.
Even though it is important to consider relations between countries, this does not absolve our obligation to give to other countries. The United States gives a considerable amount of foreign aid to both Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. The U.S. gives the second-largest, third-largest and fourth-largest sums of money to these countries, respectively. The U.S. also gives a significant amount of money to Nigeria.
Extremist groups that reside in these countries should not absolve the United States from helping those who live in poverty. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Nigeria all have many people who live in poverty. All of these countries face high poverty rates.
Rand Paul also thinks that we should not give foreign aid until the United States does not have debt. Even though it is important to consider our own debt, the United States is economically better off than many other countries in the world.
The OECD better life index gives the United States a 10 out of 10 for average personal income and an 8.1 out of 10 for housing and jobs. These are all factors that are related to the economic well-being of a country. While the national debt is a problem, most countries face worse economic problems and more widespread poverty than the U.S. We should have an obligation to give to other countries, because we are relatively well-off.
As the 2016 Presidential Race develops, it will be important to note the candidates’ views about foreign aid. Rand Paul has commonly been for small government and thus less foreign aid. If Paul were to be president, his budget would likely cut foreign aid spending.
– Ella Cady