It should surprise everyone that the world’s largest economy, China, is receiving any aid whatsoever from the U.S.
While it’s not much in the context of the over six trillion dollars the U.S. government spent last year, it’s still wasteful spending, and spending going to a country that lied about a virus that led to a global pandemic. It also represents spending to a country that we’re engaged in a trade war with.
There couldn’t be any spending that would be less controversial to cut, and President Trump did just that last year.
According to the Spectator’s Amber Athey:
President Trump cut foreign aid to China in half in just one year, according to an Office of Management and Budget report.
The report, which provides a full accounting of US spending on China and is the first of its kind, revealed several key trends that are sure to thrill China hawks. Direct aid to China fell from $62 million in Fiscal Year 2019 to $30 million in Fiscal Year 2020, a decrease of 52 percent.
At the same time, the US increased spending on programs it deemed to be effective in curbing China’s global ascendency. In 2020, Congress appropriated $300 million for the brand new Countering Chinese Influence Fund, which the OMB says is used for ‘cybersecurity, government transparency, foreign military financing, efforts to counter Chinese propaganda, and many other strategically important activities.’
Spending on strategic competition with China jumped from $42.4 billion to $47.5 billion, a 12 percent increase. The US also imposed $60 billion worth of duties on imported Chinese goods.
Multiple China support programs saw major reductions in spending or were ceased entirely under the Trump administration. For example, in 2019, the Export-Import Bank provided $11 million in financing guarantees for Chinese transactions. In 2020, it provided none. The US Trade and Development Agency ended its operations in China, cutting $2 million worth of investments in Chinese infrastructure projects. The US also ended its Peace Corps program in China for good following the pandemic.
The extent to which the U.S. subsidizes the rest of the world was reduced under President Trump.
Foreign aid spending also took a dive under President Trump. Forty-five billion dollars worth of foreign aid were disbursed in 2017, President Trump’s first year in office. In 2019 it was roughly unchanged, at $45 billion – before plunging to $25 billion in 2020
Trump also fulfilled his promise to make our NATO allies pay more. NATO allies now spend $50 billion more on defense than they did in 2016 – a sum equivalent to the entire defense budget of France.