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« TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS | Main | Maternal homicide: The press turns a blind eye »
Friday
Dec242004

Can we aford not to help the poor 

While people all over this country debate whether cities like Washington DC are spending to many of our hard earned  tax dollars on stadium give-ways to billion dollar sports franchises, every year in Africa, one in 16 pregnant women still die in childbirth, 2.2 million die of AIDS, and 2 million children die from malaria.

In July of 2002, the United States and 188 other countries signed the United Nations Millennium Declaration, pledging to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. One of the primary goals was for developed countries, like America, Britain and France, to work toward giving 0.7 percent of their national incomes for development aid for poor countries. However, plan is falling short of the set goal because the three countries that should be leading the effort are being stingy. The percentage of United States income going to poor countries remains near rock bottom: 0.14 percent. Britain is at 0.34 percent and France at 0.41 percent. However (Norway and Sweden, to no one's surprise, are already exceeding the goal, at 0.92 percent and 0.79 percent.)

If we look at world history to see where the trouble is brewing for us in the new Millennium we would be smart to use a little more carrot and a lot less stick in our diplomacy around the world. Even though some of us would like to think, our freedom causes certain factions in the world to hate this country. However, if you listen to what those people have to say you may find that they hate the fact that we do not treat other nations evenhandedly.

Mr. Bush cites the federal budget deficit as the reason for its cutback in donations to help the hungry feed themselves. The military budget for this country is $450 billion $87 billion goes to fight the war in Iraq and we cannot find $15 billion to fight the war on poverty. Jeffrey Sachs, the economist appointed by Kofi Annan to direct the Millennium Project, will present his report on how America and the world can actually cut global poverty in half by 2015. He says that if the Millennium Project has any chance of success, America must lead the donors.

If we want to regain our national pride at home, and  respect abroad then Mr. Bush needs to go before the American people and ask us to tighten our belts if need be and lead the world in this worthy cause. Moreover, I believe that if he tells his core constituency that this is something he believes in and even though it is hard work, he is resolute they will see it is the right thing for the world's only super power to do

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Reader Comments (1)

One of my new years resolutions is to be more of a doer and less of a talker-I mean in terms of helping those less fortuante than myself. So the title "can we afford not to help the poor" really grabbed my attention. I find that I always say "One day I'm going to..." in regards to many things such as sponsoring an orphan in Africa, supporting fair trade, donating what I can when I can to causes I believe in....but I never end up doing these things. I will then go and spend $20 on magazines in one day.

In answer to your question...although I can't always afford it I'm going to start putting what money I do have where my mouth is in 2005. I'm not going to give up what gives me pleasure (my magazines) but I'm going to put some of that money to causes I believe in.
December 29, 2004 | Unregistered Commenterkiwi

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