A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Friday, July 01, 2005

So, whose money is it?

Lately on the tv, I've seen ads for the ONE Campaign. They feature a large number of celebrities asking Americans to visit the website and specifically mention they are not asking for our money.
Yet, when one goes to the website, one finds out that this campaign is asking for 1% more of the US Budget. One percent is about $25 billion dollars.

That would be $25 billion of our tax dollars. So, in reality, they are asking for our money. Americans give and give and give, but it is never enough.

This is the goal:

The ONE Campaign seeks to give Americans a voice, to ring church bells and cell phones, on campuses and in coffee shops, for an historic pact to fight the global AIDS emergency and end extreme poverty. We believe that allocating an additional ONE percent of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food, would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation of the poorest countries.

But wait a minute, if one reads further, one comes upon this portion of their "goals":
ONE links directly to the international effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. 1% more of the US federal budget would help save millions of lives and be a major commitment towards achieving the internationally agreed upon United Nations Millennium Development Goals. If it is delivered, we would achieve 0.35% of national wealth going to Official Development Assistance - halfway to the international commitment to achieve 0.7%. Longer term, so long as we can prove the money is working, the goal is for the US to continue to increase effective assistance until it meets the international commitment to give 0.7% of the national wealth. This is an appropriate goals for ten years time, or 2015, the deadline for achieving the Millennium Goals.
So, in reality, they eventually want us to give 2% of our federal budget, $50 billion dollars, so that we are giving 0.7% of the international goal?

So, they really are asking for our money. And, they are really asking for more than they make it seem.

Why 1% you ask? The people at the campaign have been so kind as to give us their reasoning here. Apparently by doing this, we can "help transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the poorest countries." Some of these people asking for our money are the same people who were so against us going into Iraq, where we are currently helping "transform the futures and hopes of" entire generations.

Also by doing this,
"American support would be part of a compact with poor countries who fight corruption and use their own resources to help their people out of poverty."
I thought that was what a country was supposed to do: protect its citizens. A good question to ask is: are any of the countries that will benefit from this countries where terrorists are grown? Should we really be parting with our hard-earned, taken-by-our-own-government tax dollars and giving them to places where Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are heroes?

Finally,
"American leadership would be an example for rich countries in Europe and Asia to do their share to help the poorest people in the world."
Since when does Europe follow our example? The European countries seem, rather, to go the opposite way simply because of what we are doing. Hello? Anyone remember Iraq? Will France, Germany, and their cohorts finally applaude us for our generosity in the ONE Campaign and join in?

Are there similar "ONE" campaigns going on in France, Germany, England? How about rich countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Quatar? Are we the only ones being targeted?

I don't mind celebrities joining up as spokesmen, but I really prefer not to have foreigners tell me that my country should give more money. Why don't they go home and tell their own countrymen? Emma Thompson, Orlando Bloom, and Bono are all from the United Kingdom. Shouldn't they focus their efforts on those islands? I quite like Orlando Bloom, but while I'm paying to see his movies, I would prefer he not also ask me to compel my government to give even more of my tax money away.

And the homegrown "celebrities" aren't exactly on my "to watch" list: John Cusack, George Clooney, Cameron Diaz, Danny Glover, Tom Hanks, Dave Matthews (yes, he is from Canada, but you know), Brad Pitt, etc. Seems like an anti-Bush bunch if ever I saw one. I'm sure if they all banded together and donated some of their own money, they would make a nice dent into third world debt and poverty. How much are they giving individually?

Now, I do believe in privately helping those who are in need, but I do not believe it is the government's job to do so. I try to do my part by donating; I don't need the federal government giving away more of my money. They do that enough at home as it is.

Perhaps the ideas represented in the ONE Campaign are worth persuing, but this should be done through private and individual contributions.

Take a look at the website and examine the ONE Campaign's Issues. Is this really fair to target the US with?