- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The worldview presented by Tony Blankley in his Wednesday Op-Ed column, “Obama´s Worldview,” is deeply disturbing. Extreme poverty isn´t just about wealth inequality. Extreme poverty is about the 980 million people in our world who live on less than $1 a day or the more than 800 million (and growing) people who can´t feed themselves or their families. Or the one child every three seconds who dies of preventable causes such as diarrhea from lack of clean water or malaria from a mosquito bite. Fighting extreme poverty is not about making sure everyone has equal wealth; it is about making sure every human being is treated as such and has a chance for basic survival.

Almost five out of every six people on our planet live in developing countries. Increasingly, leaders such as President Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates are acknowledging that U.S. national interests - economic, security and moral - are entwined with the stability and opportunity that exists in some of these desperate places. The U.S. public knows this, too. In a recent poll, more than two-thirds of likely voters said the U.S. should be doing more to respond to the recent spike in global food prices.

The Global Poverty Act, misrepresented by Mr. Blankley as an example of “vast transfer[ence] of wealth,” is a step toward correcting the weblike array of U.S. programs aimed at helping the poorest of the poor. The emergency food aid promised and scantly delivered is too little and too late for hungry people in Ethiopia, for example, where food prices have been escalating gradually since 2006. According to the Government Accountability Office, it takes four to six months for food aid to be delivered from the United States to those in dire need. The issue is not, as Mr. Blankley suggests, whether we should help those living in extreme poverty. The issue is, as the Global Poverty Act addresses, whether we can do it better.

ERIN KOLODJESKI

Senior international

policy analyst

Bread for the World

Washington

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