Thursday, January 31, 2008

What is the Global Poverty Act?

Also known as S. 2433, the Global Poverty Act is "A bill to require the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day." That's the actual wording from the title of the act in the Senate.

What are the highlights?
• Declares it official U.S. policy to promote the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme global poverty in half by 2015.
• Requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to carry out that policy.
• Includes guidelines for what the strategy should include - from aid, trade, and debt relief, to working with the international community, businesses and NGOs, to ensuring environmental sustainability.
• Requires that the President’s strategy include specific and measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and
• Requires the President to report back to Congress on progress made in the implementation of the global poverty strategy.

Who's sponsoring it?
It was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Barack Obama with co-sponsors Sens. Chuck Hagel and Maria Cantwell. Reps. Adam Smith and Spenser Bachus introduced it in the House.

The Global Poverty Act is a piece of legislation which could become an important tool in fighting global poverty. Now is an excellent time to contact your senators and urge their to support of this Act.

This information was largely obtained from


Anonymous said...

Why would you want American citizens to be taxed more in order to give money to the UN, who then will steal as much as possible and give the rest to nations who will steal some more, then give the remainder to people who hate us in the first place? This "act" and people like yourself who support such nonsense are what is wrong with this country today.

CCYL said...

I'm always amazed at how free "anonymous" is to be rude and accusatory in tone!

Anonymous, I suggest you read the post again and perhaps read the actual Global Poverty Act. Neither one actually mentions a tax. That would be a subject of another post. But to address some of your other concerns...

The UN and the World Bank and other institutions are, no doubt, imperfect organizations. But that does not excuse us from not participating in the effort to save millions of innocents from dying.

History has shown we've been unable to eradicate extreme poverty (which kills more people than wars, tsunamis, cyclones and earthquakes) with just charity groups and individuals. The problems are simply to complex and, in many cases, political. To characterize this bill as a "tax" is not only inaccurate, but also ignoring the bigger picture of getting our country to work with others. The GPA would require us to have a plan and to optimize the way our existing federal orgs to development work. We need to have the federal government involved to help facilitate the good work that fed programs, individuals, charities and corporations already do.

Why would we want this? Here are a few out of many reasons:

-We harm so many impoverished nations with our own policies (farm subsidies, for example), it is only logical that we work to undo or mitigate the damage we ourselves cause.

- Failing governments with citizens in extreme poverty cultivate desperation and resentment... which creates a breeding ground for organizations who would resent a wealthy, consumer culture like ours. There are plenty of people who don't "hate" us, but harmful economic policies and lack of cooperation with the rest of the world could certainly push them over to that viewpoint.

-As far as helping people who hate the millions of children under 5 who die from easily preventable and treatable diseases deserve our apathy? If you had a starving child suffering from malaria, I would want to help you even if you were not fond of me.

Anyway, if I were to make an accusation about what is "wrong" with this country, I would not point at you...someone I don't even know. I would say it is policies like the US Farm Bill that keep farmers in developing nations into extreme poverty while oppressing our own farmers and rural families of modest means. That is something wrong with our country that we can fix.

Thank you for adding to the conversation about ending poverty. It's a conversation this nation desperately needs to have.