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“A healthier, less impoverished planet is good for all of us”

October 30, 2012

This comes from an OpEd in the Politico by former Senator Blanche Lincoln and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. They are making the case for foreign aid as part of ONE Campaign’s ONE Vote 2012 initiative. However, instead of framing it in terms of American interests (think national security) as it is usually done, they frame it in terms of the good it has done and the good it can continue to do:

It might come as a surprise to learn that less than one percent of the U.S. budget is spent on foreign assistance. It might even be shocking to discover that, despite this relatively small amount, these funds are literally saving millions of lives and improving the lives of many more millions of people.

 For example, American investments in cost-effective vaccines will help save nearly 4 million children’s lives from preventable diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhea over the next five years. We’ve also helped to deliver 290 million mosquito nets to Malaria-stricken countries, and put 46 million children in school for the very first time. And thanks to the leadership of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, 8 million HIV/AIDS patients now have access to life-saving treatments, up from just 300,000 a decade ago, making an AIDS-free generation a real possibility within our lifetimes.

A healthier, less impoverished planet is good for all of us. From an economic standpoint, it allows people to contribute more to the marketplace and lead productive lives. U.S. foreign assistance opens new markets to U.S. goods and services and creates new trading partners and allies.

Consider Africa, where, for the first time, the continent is receiving more foreign investment than foreign aid. Six of the 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa, which has sustained average economic growth above 5 percent over the past decade. Countries in Africa and the rest of the developing world are becoming global players essential for our own continued growth.

This is the way this debate should be framed. It should be about what foreign aid can do for everyone, not just how it best helps us.

What do you think?

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