How a sliver of the US budget can change the world.
For the past two decades, we have had a front row seat in the bipartisan movement to end worldwide preventable, treatable diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and to make poverty history.
Since 1990, the world has cut in half maternal and child deaths, infectious diseases, and poverty as well as turned the tide on HIV/AIDS. We have made unprecedented strides in human history.
This may be the legacy of our generation as historians analyze what we were able to accomplish worldwide during our lifetime. Central to this legacy, it is worth noting, is the progress led by the United States during the Bush Administration. Millions of mothers, babies, children, and families are alive today thanks to America’s great leadership in the world for health, food security, and education—all at a cost of less than 1 percent of our country’s spending. (Year after year, most Americans estimate that we spend far more than that.) As doctors say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
As President Donald Trump seeks to balance the US budget, it has been reported that the administration wants to dramatically cut foreign assistance by as much as 37 percent.
But because these programs are less than 1 percent of the budget, it is analogous to getting a haircut when we need emergency surgery. We support a balanced budget, but to do so will require deep cuts in the mandatory spending that account for two-thirds of federal spending—not much smaller discretionary accounts like foreign assistance, which represents less than two-thirds of 1 percent of the budget. For less than a penny on the dollar, we provide the critical safety net for people around the globe who live on less than a dollar a day. These deep cuts, …