Panic Over Foreign Aid Budget Could Use Some Perspective

COMMENTARY International Economies

Panic Over Foreign Aid Budget Could Use Some Perspective

Apr 28, 2017 1 min read

Commentary By

James M. Roberts

Former Research Fellow For Economic Freedom and Growth

Brett D. Schaefer

Jay Kingham Senior Research Fellow, Margaret Thatcher Center

Earlier this week, Foreign Policy published a leaked 15-page State Department internal document detailing the fiscal year 2018 budget numbers for five categories of foreign assistance.

The article, breathlessly titled “The End of Foreign Aid as We Know It,” asserted that the document portended the imminent incorporation of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, into the State Department and quoted numerous defenders of the status quo detailing how the proposed budget would harm U.S. interests. All of this could benefit from some perspective.

First of all, the leaked document was dated April 6. Thus, even if it is authentic, the document reflects a proposal that is at least three weeks old and could easily be out of date and overtaken by more recent plans. It is also unknown whether it was one of multiple options or a consensus document. In short, reactions to it are half-baked, at best, at this point.

Second, the article asserts that the budget would “fold USAID into State.” In support of this assertion, the article states that acting USAID Administrator Wade Warren told staff the administration was considering this possibility and quotes the skinny budget statement on “the need for State and USAID to pursue greater efficiencies through reorganization and consolidation in order to enable effective diplomacy and development.”

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal