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Bush Again Makes U.S. the Laggard in Efforts to Address Global Economic Injustice

December 20, 2001

Britain has asked the United States, along with the rest of the industrialized world, to join it in doubling the amount of money spent on global antipoverty programs.  The effort would be akin to a global Marshall Plan "to improve education and health for the world's poorest people."

While several European countries and Canada are receptive to the idea of increasing foreign aid, not the U.S.

Contrary to what many American's think, the U.S. spends far less a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product on foreign aid than any other industrialized nation.  Many of those other countries, for their size, actually give several times as much as we do, and one is literally ten times more generous than we are.

Our continued stinginess should come as no surprise.  After all, last July President Bush continued the U.S. pattern of talking a good game but refusing to pony up the funds.  Bush was proposing that aid to the poorest nations be made in the form of grants, not loans, since those countries were already overburdened by debt:

"The needs are many and undeniable," Mr. Bush said. "And they are a challenge to our conscience and to complacency. A world where some live in comfort and plenty, while half of the human race lives on less than $2 a day, is neither just, nor stable."

The only problem was, Bush declined to provide more money to finance the grants.

And of course, look who the poor British chancellor of the exchequer, Gordon Brown, had to lobby for his global Marshall Plan idea -- Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.

O'Neill, in an interview with the British Financial Times, has called for:

  • abolishing taxes on corporations
  • abolishing capital gains taxes
  • drastically reducing or eliminating Social Security
  • drastically reducing or eliminating Medicare

If O'Neill doesn't even care about providing for the needy inside the U.S., he certainly is not going to lend a sympathetic ear to a plea to help the oppressed poor outside our borders -- all of which is pretty much par for the course with the Bush administration.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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