Litkicks Message Board Archive

$15 Billion Rhetoric

Posted to Poetry and Politics





In his 2003 State of the Union speech, President Bush asked "Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years [i.e., $3 billion per year, on average], including nearly $10 billion in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean." But 5 days later, the LA Times reported that the President's budget "only sought $2 billion for the year" for AIDS -- apparently cutting proposed new money by more than half (to less than the cost of a single B-2 bomber). The Senate later voted to increase the President's request by $400 million, but the White House "repeated its strong opposition to any funding beyond $2 billion." (When the President was accused of "short-changing the program," White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, replied, "I don't know how one could look at what the President has done and come up with those words...") Then in March of 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that "the Bush administration slashed San Francisco's federal AIDS budget by more than $4 million, a 12 percent cut..." Meanwhile, Bush's proposed 2005 budget called for "a total of just $2.8 billion for AIDS and related programs, with the ... Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GFATM) slated to get a miserly $200 million, less than half of what Congress provided in 2004... While the Bush administration has budgeted $2.8 billion in [fiscal year] 2005, at least $5.4 billion is needed to meet the goals the Administration agreed to at a UN Session on AIDS in 2000."


Ref:

  • WhiteHouse.gov - President Delivers "State of the Union"
  • WhiteHouse.gov - Fact Sheet: The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
  • WhiteHouse.gov - Press Briefing by Scott McClellan
  • BlackVoices.com (from LA Times) - Senate and Bush at odds over AIDS funding
  • CBS News - Clash over AIDS Funding
  • SFGate.com (from San Francisco Chronicle) - Federal AIDS funding cuts 'devastating'
  • Misleader.org - Wall Street Journal: President Backs Off Pledge to Fund Global AIDS Fight
  • UUA.org - Federal Spending on Global AIDS Initiatives for FY 2005
  • Aerospaceweb.org - B-2 Cost

    NOTE: I don't know specifically how this mythical $15 billion was intended to "turn the tide ... in the most afflicted nations," but I suspect it's the familiar "trickle down" approach, under which American pharmaceutical companies would receive undirected funding under some assumption that their products might eventually benefit other nations.

    Related: Rich man, poor man...