The Common Good

A Vision for the Foreign Aid Budget

I would like to address the foreign affairs portion of the president's budget. World Vision, an international NGO, works in about 100 countries and we are deeply involved in development -- in such areas as the hunger crisis, clean water, malaria prevention, AIDS prevention, education, microloans, and development for schools. These are the kinds of things that help children and communities around the world, but they are also the kinds of things that make friends for America.

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

The president has asked for a $4 billion increase in the foreign affairs budget which is a very strategic part of World Vision's own budget. To put that into perspective, the total humanitarian assistance budget for the world is about $25 billion a year, and the total foreign affairs budget is about $49 billion. The humanitarian portion is less than 1 percent of the federal budget and is equal to what we've given to the auto industry in the past few months.

Since January 2008, the total bailout and stimulus monies passed amount to about $2 trillion, and if we were to have that money, it would fund the humanitarian assistance budget for 80 years, just to put that into context. So in the context of these massive stimulus and bailout packages, the $4 billion increase that the president has requested is the equivalent of throwing a five cent tip into the tin cup of the world's poorest 2 billion people who are the most affected by the global economic crisis.

We at World Vision support the Kerry-Lugar amendment to restore the president's international affairs budget request. Both the House and the Senate have requested reductions to the foreign affairs budget. We believe that spending 1 percent of the federal budget to strengthen relations abroad, to strengthen our diplomacy in a challenging world, and to address the greatest humanitarian challenges of our day is not only the right thing to do but the smartest thing to do, and we support that part of the budget.

portrait-richard-stearnsRichard Stearns is the president of World Vision, a leading Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide by tackling the causes of poverty. This post is adapted from remarks he made recently during a media conference call announcing the Mobilization to End Poverty. Click here to listen to audio of the call.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)