Bush talks a lot about the "culture of life." When tsunami devastation rolls over Southeast Asia, a "culture of life" demands that you donate lots of money and help the unfortunate victims as much as possible. A "culture of life" also demands that you help the 3 billion people in the world who live on $2 a day or less - extreme, extreme poverty. In Sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia, 77% of the people live in such wretched poverty.
Jeffrey D. Sachs, head of the UN Millennium Project, says if rich countries would increase their donations we could end extreme world poverty by 2015. The need is great. Sachs compares the need with the horrible situation in Southeast Asia:
In Africa, almost as many children die every month from malaria as died in the Indian Ocian tsunami - about 150,000 children every month.
Rich governments have contributed, but not nearly enough. It may come as a shock to you, but America has been spending only about .015% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for foreign aid. In 2000, developed countries agreed to raise their contributions to .7% of GDP. Today, only Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have met this goal. US has not. Sachs is encouraging us to give more:
We're talking about rich countries committing 50 cents out of every $100 of income to help the poorest people in the world get a foothold on the ladder of development. It's utterly affordable.
Gordon Brown, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, calls for a "Marshal Plan" type project to conquer poverty in the world. And what does the U.S. call for? Nothing. All we talk about, in addition to "moral values" about sex, is the "war on terror" and Iraq.
Moral reasons alone are enough to make our government participate in a "Marshall Plan" to eradicate world poverty. There is another powerful reason to do this: such a project would do more to reduce terrorism than any war could accomplish. Poor countries are magnets for terrorists. Witness what happened in Afghanistan. Instead of having so many failed countries accommodating terrorists, we stand a chance of making these countries part of the world community and thus unwilling to allow their national soil to be abused.
Let's embrace the new morality: wiping out poverty. We help the people live. We reduce terrorism by reducing resentment. The entire globe benefits.