Brad Plumer has a helpful list of winners and losers in the White House budget. If you want to understand the president’s proposal at a deeper level than a soundbite (but a shallower level than actually reading the whole thing), I recommend starting here. One small quibble: Plumer’s list of losers includes “farms and agribusinesses.”
With U.S. funding, nongovernmental organizations have helped immunize millions of babies. Thanks to debt relief, most African children are in school, and in the last six years the number of people receiving HIV/AIDS medicines in developing countries has increased tenfold. Our country provides assistance through the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. But the world has changed dramatically since then. It's time for the U.S. to get smarter about how it delivers foreign aid.
When I was in southern Ethiopia in 1994, I watched truck after truck roll into a community with food aid. I asked a farmer if the harvest had been bad. He told me he had an abundant harvest of tomatoes and onions—cash crops. Because of all the food aid they were receiving, he could use his land to make some extra cash—and his family would eat wheat from America. That same year I could purchase corn oil at the local grocery store—in big metal containers labeled "A gift from the people of America." I resented having to pay for what was clearly intended to be food aid.