Clinton: do you really need all those SUVs?
Emma Ashburn covered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in which she defended international health spending at a time of domestic belt-tightening.
“At a time when American unemployment is recorded as slightly less than 10 percent, and we know structural unemployment is worse, and we’re asking hard-working, maybe unemployed Americans, to keep paying their taxes, some of that money will go to fund our development and diplomacy efforts worldwide.”
“I have to be able to look them in the eye and tell them they’re getting their money’s worth,” Clinton said.
In pressing for the Global Health Initiative, which provides $63 billion over 2009-2014 to combat health problems like malaria and HIV/AIDS, Clinton drew some chuckles when she suggested that aid workers could tighten their belts a little too.
“If we’re going to have a country team, in a country, working together, they don’t all need their own SUVs. We have got to get smart about how we spend our money,” she said.
Cutting back supplies in, say, Nigeria would mean more money could be spent in places like Afghanistan, where the life expectancy is about 44 years. Ten aid workers, including six Americans, were killed two weeks ago in Afghanistan where they were treating eye diseases and other ailments.
The U.S. government’s health assistance in places like Afghanistan “gives you an opportunity to connect with segments of the population that may or may not be particularly supportive of anything else that we and others are doing,” Clinton said.
In a midterm election year, Clinton took pains to point out that health aid for developing countries was not a partisan issue, and commended former Republican President George W. Bush’s administration for “ground-breaking work” in global health.
“This is clearly not a Democratic or Republican issue, this is a nonpartisan issue that really comes from the heart of America. And our leadership in this field has been possible because of strong support on both sides of the aisle,” she said.
Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Clinton at Johns Hopkins SAIS)