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November 30, 2012

Gerson on Austerity and Morality

Here's a thoughtful column by Michael Gerson on what leaders must display in a time of austerity: a sense of proportion, the courage to take on large interests, and a sense of humanity.  Wherever you think the balance should be, these orientations are right.  And Gerson continues his compassionate-conservative defense of foreign aid against attacks like those by Sen. Rand Paul:

There are many substantive responses to Paul’s critique of aid. U.S. foreign policy would not be particularly American if a commitment to universal human dignity did not play some role. And acting according to that commitment has traditionally been an important element of U.S. influence — shaping our image and serving our interests.

But Paul’s crusade against aid is most notable as a failure of leadership. It lacks proportion, since the total of humanitarian assistance amounts to less than 1 percent of the federal budget — an expenditure irrelevant to the United States’ long-term, structural fiscal challenge.

Posted by Thomas Berg on November 30, 2012 at 09:57 AM in Berg, Thomas | Permalink

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