In an op-ed published by CNN, billionaire philanthropist Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft mogul, Bill Gates, issued a stern warning to President Trump.
Melinda Gates begins with an observation from when she and Bill first began their foundation:
“Our resources are only a drop in the bucket compared with the needs around the world, and only a small percentage of what governments spend each year to help meet those needs.”
Mrs. Gates says that realization was “humbling.” She then gets down to the proverbial brass tacks of that humbling realization: it is because of that knowledge that she and Bill are “deeply concerned” about Trump’s plans to cut United States foreign aid — a move that she says threatens to derail the significant and meaningful progress so many have worked to achieve.
“The data tells us that in a single generation, funding from the United States and other donor nations has helped turn the tide against infectious diseases like polio and HIV/AIDS, while driving a child survival revolution that has saved 122 million children’s lives. The world has cut extreme poverty in half and set the stage for more people everywhere to live longer, better, healthier lives than ever.”
Melinda Gates then proactively refutes tired nationalistic arguments by debunking the notion that the US government appears concerned about taking care of our own to begin with:
“The facts are this: Less than 1% of the US federal budget goes to aid, and the dollars spent abroad reap dividends for our country, too. That’s why, when the White House first announced these cuts, some of the loudest voices of protest came not from overseas, but here at home. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, retired US military leaders, and faith leaders all spoke up in defense of foreign aid, arguing it is not just the right thing to do — it’s also vital to protecting American interests. The money we spend on foreign aid is a long-term investment in Americans themselves.”
A FEW KEY POINTS:
- Whenever we strengthen health systems abroad, we mitigate the risk of epidemics reaching own our own country.
- Whenever individuals and communities have the chance to lead safe and meaningful lives, they are less inclined to violence.
- Whenever developing nations rise from endemic poverty, a market is created for goods and services — including those from the United States.
- Even simple measures like providing contraception so that women may control their own lives has proven hugely beneficial.
Melinda Gates closes her op-ed with this: “We’ve seen that progress is possible, but we also know it’s not inevitable. If the United States goes forward with these cuts to foreign aid, it will leave a gap in the world’s moral leadership and reduce our country’s standing among nations. It will mean that millions of people — including millions of children — will die preventable deaths on our watch. More men and women will be driven by desperation toward dangerous extremism, and more people in the world’s poorest places will live and die trapped in poverty. For all these reasons, I will spend my time in D.C. this week making the case that if we care about keeping America healthy, safe and prosperous, then we must prioritize foreign aid. The cost of these cuts is far too great for our country — or our conscience — to bear.”