April 6, 2012 | The Editors

Reason to love (a small portion of) your taxes

It’s almost time for the weekend, which, since it’s early April, means drudgery. If you live in the United States, it’s tax time.

Obviously, you will need diversion as you sweep together the diffuse bits of your financial life and ready it for federal inspection. The best we’ve seen so far comes from our friends at the ONE Campaign. ONE’s interactive tax tool lets you enter your annual income to find out how much you paid in federal taxes and how many of your tax dollars went to fund programs such as national defense, Social Security, and foreign assistance.

Interactive graphic image with circle chart.
Click on the image to go to the ONE Campaign's website and try the Tax Tool.

A little money, a long way

Guess which of the programs ONE highlights gets the smallest piece of your annual obligation? Foreign assistance, which includes funding for work in global health, is allocated a little less than 1 percent of the federal budget. It’s a small piece of the total, but it’s mighty.

“Where the United States has invested in global health,” says Aaron Emmel, senior policy advisor for PATH, “we have moved the bar.”

The list of improvements in global health made with simple, proven interventions is impressive. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that maternal death rates are down and UNICEF says that more children are surviving past their fifth birthdays. WHO finds malaria deaths are dropping, too. And HIV/AIDS is no longer an automatic death sentence—something Aaron calls “one of the huge success stories of American investment.” (You can see our take on these successes on the ONE blog.)

“It doesn’t take that much money to save a life,” says Aaron. “We’re doing it on 1 percent of our tax money.”

Who doesn’t like a healthy kid?

When you put it that way, who wouldn’t support investment in global health?

“Americans absolutely do support it,” Aaron says. “Global health is a bipartisan issue. People from all walks of life can agree they don’t want sick kids.”

By the way, if you’re getting a tax refund, you can always choose to dedicate more of your money to fund work in global health. Here’s how you can support PATH.

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