Op-ed: Don’t balance budget on back of the global poor

Sam Worthington

You know that phrase about being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

As the US and British governments look for places to make budget cuts, many are concerned that the small amount (about 1 percent of the US federal budget) devoted to providing assistance to the needy and fighting disease in poor countries will be cut even further.

Sam Worthington of Interaction writes in the Guardian why this is a bad idea. He notes that the new conservative government in the UK appears to understand why foreign aid is in their national interest. But Worthington is concerned it remains a tough political sell among some in the U.S. He writes:

Many of the budget cuts proposed by the House would have a dramatic effect on development work abroad and could make it hard to respond to crises such as the earthquake that occurred in Haiti in January last year…. The harsh arithmetic here is that when humanitarian accounts are slashed, people die, whether in Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.

  • Resultsbob

    Here’s what former Bush speechwriter and policy advisor Michael Gerson said in a recent Washington Post column: “These reductions were intended to be symbolic, but what do they
    symbolize? Fiscal responsibility? Hardly. No one can reasonably claim that the budget crisis exists because America spends too much on bed nets and AIDS drugs… So, do these cuts symbolize the Republican rejection of fuzzy-­‐headed liberalism? Actually, the main initiatives on malaria and AIDS were created under Republican leadership. They emphasize measured outcomes and accountability. If the goal of House Republicans is to
    squander the Republican legacy on global health, they are succeeding.”