Monday, February 17, 2003

In my first blog entry I asked if the administration might not take money for their proposed foreign aid initiative to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean from previously established budgets- robbing Peter to pay Paul as it were. Below I’ve quoted a couple paragraphs from one of todays NYT’s editorials that sadly answers my question.

It's utterly heartless and astoundingly pathetic. Cutting child health programs? Surely their knuckles are bloodied from scraping so low.

“Mr. Bush's other foreign aid initiative, announced in his State of the Union address, is $10 billion in new money to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean over five years. But his budget falls short of that promise. He is proposing only a $550 million increase over the global AIDS money in this year's spending bill now in Congress. Since the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria would be an effective channel for the aid, there is no excuse for the initiative's leisurely start. Mr. Bush's 2004 budget for the Global Fund, $200 million, actually cuts in half what Congress is likely to do in 2003.

Mr. Bush has also found part of the money for his AIDS programs by cutting nearly $500 million from child health, including vaccine programs. Child survival is the biggest loser in the foreign aid budget — a scandalous way to finance AIDS initiatives. With the budget dominated by defense spending and huge tax cuts for the wealthy, the White House should not be forcing the babies of Africa to pay for their parents' AIDS drugs.”

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