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Debate Info

55
32
Yes, we have an obligation. No, it's not worth it.
Debate Score:87
Arguments:35
Total Votes:107
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Argument Ratio

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 Yes, we have an obligation. (20)
 
 No, it's not worth it. (15)

Debate Creator

PolicyDebate(116) pic



Should the U.S. Government increase public health assisstance to sub-Saharan Africa?

What are the advantages/disadvantages?

Yes, we have an obligation.

Side Score: 55
VS.

No, it's not worth it.

Side Score: 32
7 points

If it's morally wrong to take people's money and guide it to good causes, then it's even worse to take our money and put it towards the war effort. I'd rather have money going to help care for people and make the world a better place than have it used for more bombs and to fuel destruction.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
jaoman(7) Disputed
1 point

The point is it is morally wrong to take people's money for any reason weather to execute war (obviously more wrong) or to send it to others. Americans already give more in private contributions then the government does in "public" money so if they paid no taxes the giving would increase (I know mine would). Also, by using the government to convey the money you pay a sizable portion to the bureaucracy which is obviously avoid by private contribution.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
Hairchrm(25) Disputed
4 points

So you mean that you are opposed to taxes? To take people's money for any reason? Do you realize that the school you went to was funded from people like you paying, that the government only functions through taxation? Taxation is essential to any government.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
0 points

But in comparison to other countries and to the US' vast GDP, it's not a lot that the US is giving to foreign aid. See "US and Foreign Aid Assistance".

This other site says

"80% of that aid itself actually goes to American companies in those foreign countries" [...] "According to Heater & Berridge, Israel has been receiving 12/13% of all American charitable foreign aid since 1979".

Supporting Evidence: US and Foreign Aid Assistance (www.globalissues.org)
6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
6 points

Yes, the US government and the US people have an obligation to increase health assistance to the people of sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Disease Control Priority Project

"More than 700 million people live in SSA, the region with the world’s highest population growth, infant mortality, and adult mortality rates. SSA is the only region with a lower life expectancy today than in 1980, due largely to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The region is the world’s most poverty stricken: since 1990, the percentage of people who live on less than $1 a day has increased to nearly 50%."

This extreme poverty and decrepit health care system needs our assistance to get them on the road to propserity. It not only is the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective, but also could help other countries economically if these countries were brought in to the world economy.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
Cdelvalle(196) Disputed
2 points

What subsaharan Africa needs are better political leaders so that the country becomes better developed.

It doesnt matter how much aid the US gives Africa, if their leaders continue to wage civil wars and wipe out neighboring tribes, then they will continue to be in the situation they are in.

What they need, if anything, is money spent on education, water, and electricity infrastructure. They also need better jobs.

If all of these things are addressed, then the health of their people should improve.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
5 points

Is there oil there?

I believe in whirled peas but personally can't afford it...

when "they" say "U.S. Government" that means YOU (taxed).

This a very complicated situation with the warlords, tyranny, disease, population, and the fact that I feel like we just don't care.

What happened to... We are the World!

Maybe if all the uber rich people got together and sang a song or something.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
4 points

I do think that is is actually in our own best interest to increase public health assistance to sub-Saharan Africa. Another thing that we can do (which Bono advocates) is relief the debt-obligations so that each nation will be more able to help themselves.

I don't see any value in letting a fifth of the world suffer and degrade while the rest thrives. It will come back to haunt us. In fact, I think it would be a better investment than the Iraq War.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
Yeoman(3) Disputed
2 points

As many things there are that would be much better use of funds than the Iraq war, the problem in most of the countries are not money related, rather to do with the countries infrastructure, education, the lack of skilled workforces. Pouring money into a problem like that seems more like flogging a dead horse than getting anything done.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
1 point

Great point. It doesn't make sense to inject money into the infrastructure, schooling and workforce if the country isn't capable of sustaining itself, its too expensive. It has never worked and it never will.

Also, inject money into Europe after WWI & WW2 was different because those countries (especially Germany) were already capable of sustaining large industrial economies.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
2 points

I think that the US Gov should increase public health assistance, but i don't think it is an obligation.

However, if the US Gov thinks it has an obligation to spread democracy, and remove non-capitalistic nations then it certainly has an obligation to help nations that are less fortunate.

just because the US gov doesn't have an obligation doesn't mean it shouldn't help other nations. The US gov can do more for the world by helping poor nations than by invading countries and fighting wars.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
2 points

The American government has maybe not got an 'obligation' to help, but I think it should, because the majority of Western governments have meddled politically in other countries, including sub-Saharan ones, and the fact that they feel entitled to do this, and that America, especially, has waged war there, means that they ought to also be involved with the humanitarian needs of these countries. By loaning money and creating large debts, they've already ended up harming the rate of development, so America ought to speed it up by assisting in other ways.

(Fight AIDS, not the War on Terror!)

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
2 points

With the amount of medicines we have and the extremity of HIV, why wouldn't we continue to act to give in need?

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.

For those of you that say 'we neeed to deal with our own problems,' the United States can increase its soft power from doing this (Mullan in '05). Soft Power can lead to hard power (Nye '04), and soft power's decline will cause domestic isolationism (Nye). Domestic isolationism leads to great power wars (Thayer in '06). Our image will be promoted all around the world. Issues in Guantanamo, Haditha and Iraq have promoted Anti-americanism, something that can be stopped by helping Africa (Smith in '07)

So, there is something in it for us- to not die from nuclear war. But that isn't the reason we should be debating- MILLIONS are dying.

The Crises in Sub-Saharan Africa

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.

According to Muchiri in 2000, AIDS could lead to human extinction. According to Singer in '02, AIDS could become airborne. If we don't do something now, we will all die.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
1 point

We get two primary benefits off of assisting Africa.

1) The moral "We are helping our fellow humans" claim.

2) Many countries in Africa have abundant amounts of natural resources, like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria. Increasing health assistance would give their citizens a better chance to utilize those resources, which could lead to greater prosperity overall through trade. One can look at China's involvement in tapping Sudan's oil as an example of this.

An important thing to note is that Nigeria and The Democratic Republic of the Congo also have large stores of oil, which could lower gas prices... if they had the means to do so.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
3 points

No, I don't think that the US has an obligation to continue helping other countries in the world when there are plenty of issues at home that they should be focusing on. Not that I'm totally against helping other people out, but with the housing market crashing, the economy on the verge of recession, health care costs skyrocketing, energy costs skyrocketing, unemployment on the rise, etc there are much more pertinent issues to tend to at home.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
Mahollinder(897) Disputed
3 points

While I agree that the United States does not have an "inherent obligation" to helping other countries, I do think that the US should help out of moral responsibility.

About $20 billion (US dollars) properly invested into global initiatives over a relatively short period of time could extinguish global poverty forever - and that is roughly 1/20th the size of the United State's military budget (alone).

I was at a lecture by Kwame Appiah on Cosmopolitanism ethics and he made note near the end of his lecture that most Europeans spend more per capita on fighting global poverty than Americans do - and they tend to (with exceptions) have lower gross incomes and quality of living - though this lecture was about three or so years ago.

That shouldn't be the case in practice. America and Americans should be providing a proportionately balanced level of AID, especially when we consider that many of our (Americans') habits are in part responsible for the advanced desertification and only aids in causing strife in the region. What Sub-Saharan Africans do has little affect on America, whereas America has an incalculable affect on the region(s).

America has the economic power (inflated or not) to handle many of its problems by re-balancing its budget and restructuring its social and healthcare systems.

Spending less on military assets (nearly 500 billion dollars) and funneling finances into things like education programs, science, agriculture and non-corporate business ventures will go a long way of increasing gross income, productivity, economic interaction (buyer and seller), and create a population that is better capable of making better decisions about their lives - especially when it comes to deciding to buy real estate.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
sparsely(495) Disputed
0 points

That's all well and good, but let's not fool ourselves. Africa is in the condition it is because of policies and meddling by Europe.

America didn't take over parts of Africa, now, did they? No, that was who? Europe. Let them fix it, they fucked it up in the first place.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
2 points

Right on. If individuals choose to give to charities, then good for them, and they should have each and every right to do so. But as far as public health assistance, we don't get it here (we don't need it here), and we as a country should not force taxpayers for the Africans to get it there. Last time I checked, charity was meant to be done on an individual basis. And America does not need to spend any more money than it already is...as if our government isn't in debt enough! And there are much, much more important issues that must be taken care of here before we increase our overseas endeavors.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
1 point

More pertinent issues? What could be more pertinent than trying to aliviate the suffering of human beings? There is nothing I can think of that is more important that trying to improve the living condition of people, no matter where they happen to live.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
2 points

First the government has no constitutional authority to send aid to other countries. Second when the government sends aid it is often given to the governments of the countries in question and is spent poorly or inappropriately. Third it is morally wrong to take money from one person (through taxation in this case) and give it to someone else, it is always better to allow individuals to spend their money as they choose. If someone wants to send their money to Africa to help out then they should be allowed to do so free and unfettered.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
1 point

I fully agree that money sent is probably spent poorly and inefficiently due to corruption and a lack of infrastructure to support a wide scale boost in the economy. Roads, power lines and irrigation systems need to be built and the government just seems to fund arms, explosives and violence with the money sent.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
1 point

Considering most of our contributions to Africa tend to be military in nature, like bombings of ineffectually governed sovereignties like Somalia or securing oil fields, I'm going to say no. When America decides that not every situation require a military solution, which will likely be never, then I'd say we should increase health assistance. But only in the cases where our foreign policy has actively wreaked havoc.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
Nikobelia(157) Disputed
2 points

If most of America's contributions to Africa are military in nature, doesn't that oblige them to help? Bombings tend to 'actively wreak havoc', whatever their target may be, on the poor and disenfranchised rather than the dictators themselves. 'Securing oil fields' sounds to me like 'exploiting other countries' natural resources', something I'd say you owe them a debt for. Why is that a reason you ought not increase health assistance, exactly?

The concept of paying reparations is often one that has to be enforced by the winners of a war, but that's no reason America shouldn't exercise its sense of justice and drop the debt or give more health aid of its own accord.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.
1 point

No way. Its absolutely ridiculous to say that we should not be spending money on a war in IRAQ, and that the money should instead go to African Aid. How stupid do you have to be not to realize that they are exactly the same TOTAL waste of US resources. Here is a NEWSFLASH for you. Africa is at WAR. Haven't you learned anything from Iraq. STAY OUT OF FOREIGN WAR. WE HAVE ZERO INTEREST IN HELPING PEOPLE WHO CLEARLY DON'T APPRECIATE OUR EFFORTS ANYWAY.

Save the money. Save lives.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
1 point

Being by no means an expert on African or American politics having been to neither of the places, but a student of classics i can add that most of Africa is not suitable for cultivation, there are currently approximately a billion people there. the basis of my disagreement would be that its futile since the land cannot support the numbers of people living off it and it would be a massive effort to feed and care for that many people. If the people aren't being fed, there's not much point in supplying other forms of health assistance. I'm not saying ignorance is the best policy, but a solution to such a massive problem doesn't come in form of a half hearted aid effort.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
0 points

For the sake of argument, Why don't we just let them fix it themselves? For one, if you leave out the whole "America excels in human rights, and humanitarian issues, and we, as a nation, have the means to better people's lives" argument. We are a nation of people, that all come together, and help each other, and this may be hard for average people to comprehend, I know that it's hard for me to understand as anything beyond a shallow theory. We are all here on this land, working and sharing this culture, and signing ourselves over to the government to become citizens for what?

Why do we have our own government, why do we sell ourselves for it, to be part of it? What's the main function in American government? The government is an adhesive that helps us band together, to deal with global issues, yes, but the main reason we all need and agree to have a single government is for...??? SOCIAL STABILITY! We all sign ourselves over for peace.

In Africa, why is there a government? Wouldn't it be obvious that it's for the same reason? The problem is, that Africa is not civilized, not as Europe and America is civilized. They are highly segregated by tribe culture, geography, belief systems, and language. You think citizens in the U.S. are bad, with all of our gangs, racism, class division... it doesn't come close.

We have our own problems in america that we are ruining via the "reinvention" of our culture, and this destroys our ties to the past. We are creating a fake, dreamlike society with capitalist marketing and television, that our children will wake up to, and when they do wake up, they will feel alienated. We have a nationwide sociological bomb on our hands that we need to correct immediately. Re-establish the family, peace, and discipline. Our economy is slumping because people here in the US just want to have fun... FUN. Television makes everyone want to be a hero, and save the world, their world. The Ghetto's, the quite suburbs, the lonely higher class... we all want to be heros... Just look at yourselves... you all hate your jobs, don't you? You all hate them unless you feel that they are yours, and that you have a niche in the world. Mechanics, you all have your places as mechanics, but simultaneously, you want more than to be a mechanic, so you follow your dreams to a path that can do nothing more for you, though it may seem it does, you're not changing the world.

We have our own problems, and I feel that if we left Africa to itself, it would grow into a nation that can take care of itself. It's happening right now, all over Africa, revolution... why? They have eyes, they can see what the rest of the world is up to, they are straggling behind. They will see that the only way to live well, is to unite and work together... or die. That's the way nature works, you either use it to your advantage, or be consumed. No help, no aid... just let nature do it's work. They are humans, like you and I, they will come out on top.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
0 points

No! Although it would be nice to help other countries, we have to put our country first. We can't neglect our country to help Africa right now; There are still too many problems in the U.S. that need solving.

6 years ago | Side: No, it's not worth it.
1 point

I hate to burst your bubble but you need a reality check. The standard of living in the U.S. right now is better than almost any other place in the history of human kind. I'm not saying that the society we live in is perfect, but when was the last time you went more than a day without food? You also seem to think that citizens of the U.S. are more important than those of other nations when we are all human beings. As the worlds wealthiest nation we should be spending THE MAJORITY OF OUR WEALTH helping others. I agree that there are people in our own country who are also without, and the same favor should be extended towards them; there are far too many millionairs in this nation for there to also exist poverty. The U.S. should be setting an example to other wealthy nations and individuals about how important it is to help improve the lives of others.

6 years ago | Side: Yes, we have an obligation.


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