Michael Gerson echoed Administrator Shah’s comments in today’s Washington Post, saying that “global health programs are not analogous to many other categories of federal spending, such as job training programs or support for public television. A child either receives malaria treatment or does not. The resulting risk of death is quantifiable.” He went on to point out that all budget cuts are not equal. While some may lead to pay freezes, or adjustments in government benefits, cuts to our global development and health programs may lead some to a “fever and a small coffin.”
This rhetoric may seem overblown to those who view this budget debate as a ledger-balancing act, but, while all programs facing cuts will certainly point to the impact of cuts, few areas can paint as stark a picture as development. For only a little more than 1% of the total federal budget, these programs help save millions of lives each year through investments in global health, food security programs, and humanitarian assistance. In turn, these investments in human well being lead to a more stable and prosperous world, and help sustain US leadership.