AMERICANS WANT GLOBAL SOLIDARITY,
By John Spritzler
An opinion poll conducted by the University of Maryland Program on International Policy Attitudes, and reported in the Chicago Tribune February 6, showed that 83% of Americans polled favored the United States joining an international program to cut world hunger in half and 75% said they would be willing to pay extra taxes to achieve this. Americans favor foreign aid for humanitarian reasons: 81% wanted either to maintain or increase aid to Africa, 77% wanted to reduce hunger and disease in poor countries, 76% to pay for child survival programs, 65% to fund the Peace Corps, and 61% to help women and girls in poor countries. In contrast, only 27% backed aid to Israel and Egypt and only 27% backed military aid in general. (Israel and Egypt each currently receive more US aid than any other countries.)
One striking fact about these numbers is that, when asked how much of the federal budget actually did go to foreign aid, half of those polled guessed it was more than 10%, when if fact it is only 1%. Also, 81% favored channeling aid through private charitable organizations or other direct means rather than through governments, apparently, according to the Tribune, "because they believe corrupt officials steal most of the money." We who want a world based on solidarity, not competition, should never forget that we are the vast majority.
Originally published in New Democracy Newsletter, March-June 2001.
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