There are plenty of areas of debate over exactly how and where the U.S. should spend its foreign aid dollars. But for Alabamians in particular — and the entire Gulf Coast region more broadly — the international assistance that flows into cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking is paying massive dividends, both economically and, perhaps more surprisingly, in terms of national security.
A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates Americans grossly overestimate the amount the federal government spends on foreign aid. The average answer was foreign aid accounts for a whopping 31 percent of spending. Fifteen percent of respondents actually thought it represented over half of the U.S. budget.
In reality, according to the Congressional Research Service, it accounts for about 1 percent total when military, economic development and humanitarian efforts are combined. And it is paying massive dividends for Alabama.