A Smarter Way for Trump to Cut Foreign Aid

Jared Pincin and Brian Brenberg: “First, the president should eliminate all tied foreign aid — assistance that must be spent by the recipient country on goods and services supplied by the donor country. Such rigidity drastically increases the cost of foreign aid, by as much as 30 percent — especially when it comes to food.”

“Second, the president should support distributing foreign aid only to countries in true economic need. This would dramatically reduce the number of countries receiving economic aid, allowing USAID to focus its resources where they can do the most good. If the United States focused its foreign aid on countries classified by the World Bank as low-income economies, it would distribute aid in 31 countries, rather than the 158 countries we’re sending aid to today.”

“Lastly, Trump should insist on a Leahy-style amendment for foreign aid. The Leahy Amendment prohibits any military assistance to parties who are guilty of human-rights violations. The same standard should apply to foreign aid, which is designed to promote human development and humanitarian purposes. Adopting this type of restriction on who can receive aid encourages accountability, both in terms of who is eligible for aid and how USAID distributes the aid.”

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