NPR logo Maybe Charlie Sheen Could Tweet That Foreign Aid Is 1% Of U.S. Budget

Maybe Charlie Sheen Could Tweet That Foreign Aid Is 1% Of U.S. Budget

Charlie Sheen. i

Charlie Sheen. Chris Pizzello/ASSOCIATED PRESS hide caption

toggle caption Chris Pizzello/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Charlie Sheen.

Charlie Sheen.


Bloomberg News has a new poll that shows the vast majority of respondents, about 80 percent, want the nation's policymakers to avoid a federal government shutdown.

That tracked with other recent polls indicating that most Americans want President Obama and House Republicans to reach agreement on spending legislation for the rest of the year.

What also tracked with other recent polls is Americans' continued misunderstanding about the relative size of foreign aid in the federal budget.

About 72 percent of those surveyed told the pollsters that significant reductions to the federal deficit could come from steeply reducing foreign aid.

But that consistent misconception of Americans is persistently wrong. Foreign aid is just one percent of the federal budget. No matter how many times State Department officials or others say this, the erroneous notion hangs on.

Which leads me to this modest proposal. Maybe Charlie Sheen could tweet this information to his 2.3 million followers on Twitter. That would at least deliver this basic information faster than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could.

On second thought, maybe having Sheen do anything related to diplomacy isn't the best idea.

Still, whatever's being done now in terms of communicating how small a fraction foreign aid is of the U.S. budget isn't working. There's got to be a better way. A message on milk cartons, maybe?

I've shamelessly done my part by working Charlie Sheen, the federal budget and foreign aid into the same post.



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