The Other “1%”

The “1%” is a familiar term to many Americans today. It came out of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, identifying the wealthiest elites, that live in a completely different economic reality than the majority of American citizens, but there is another startling “1%” most Americans are unaware of.

Many Americans don’t realize that only 1% of the US budget is spent in foreign aid, with the singular focus on aid projects, which help foreign countries in time of peril. Similar to the fact that America’s wealthiest elite are a disproportionately small group, an incredibly small portion of our annual budget is focused on assisting the outside world. It is estimated that these aid dollars actually yield an economic impact of 100 to 1 compared to spending that is done within the US. And while there was, at one time, a lofty goal of increasing that 1%, the tide has drastically turned.

Instead of being left as is for countries in need, that 1% (roughy $42 Billion) has now become the target of other departments to increase their own budgets. While disheartening, it’s not difficult to see why that is easy to do.

Will we stand together to preserve this 1% and the critical impact it makes to our brothers and sisters around the world in need? Will we act, and allow their voice to be heard through ours? While our budget does need work, let us first thoroughly examine the 99% before we begin to tear at the 1% which brings vital healthcare, education and development to those whose economic reality is truly vastly different than ours.

Let your legislators know that you care about preserving our foreign aid budget and that as your representatives in government, to let your voice be heard.

michael verdine