Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Obama's call to rid the world of its real illegal alien: Ebola

This holiday season, Obama plans to give our glorious country one amazing gift: the beginning of the end of Ebola outbreaks totally and completely. Obama's call to congress to approve $6 billion dollars in aid to West African countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone comes after the french group MSF (doctors without borders) strongly criticized the international response to the virus, calling it “patchy and slow” (BBC).

Sadly, this BBC article also believes (and I agree) that Obama’s plan will likely be challenged by conservatives in congress, in wake of the President's Executive Order regarding immigration. This idea really upsets me, as there is almost no logic behind the conservative position. They didn't get what they wanted in one area (immigration) because they couldn't pass legislation, so they are punishing countries in desperate need of aid because they didn't get their way. Congress should be able to put aside partisan issues for the sake of safety of the citizens of the US.  While some may back a conservative position saying that 6 billion dollars is a lot of money to be spending when there is no need for US intervention,  I would kindly remind them the the defense budget for 2013 was $718 billion dollars. We should be able to allocate a fraction of a fraction of our defense budget’s worth to help fight what could become a global issue. What opinions do you have regarding these issues?

Should Conservatives challenge Obama’s relief plan because of his Executive order?

After being out of the news cycles for so long, is Ebola even an issue pressing enough to allocate $6 billion of our own dollars to aid West African Nations?


Vivian Shen said...

Although I do agree with the author that there will be conservative backlash to this relief plan, I do not believe it will be enough for the relief plan to actually fail. Yes, there will be lots of bitter conservatives left from Obama's immigration executive order, but Ebola is an epidemic that has killed around 5,700 people as of November 25th. This transforms this issue into not only a policy issue, but a moral issue, because death is not just something that can be pushed under the rug and ignored. Therefore, I would claim that although not all conservatives will be happy with Obama's plan, I believe it will still be pushed through congress.

As for whether the relief plan is needed or not, I would argue that it is very necessary. Even if Ebola is no longer spreading as rapidly as its initial stage, the rest of the funds can be allocated to recovery efforts rather than relief efforts. Both Obama and I believe that the global response to Ebola was too slow, and we need to makeup for our lack of action with greater action now. Plus, like Obama mentions in the article, "If we move fast, even if imperfectly, that could mean the difference between 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 deaths versus hundreds of thousands or even a million deaths."

Alex Li said...

conservatives should not challenge Obama's relief plan just because of his executive order on immigration. The Republican controlled congress obviously does not approve of Obama's immigration policies, but these two issues don't really have much to do with one another. It is a bit cynical to think that Republicans won't let Obama help the west African nations to fight Ebola just because they disagree on immigration, as Republicans have feelings as well and care about the well-being of others.

Ebola is still an issue pressing enough to allocate $6B of our defense budget to the West African Nations. Our defense budget is 718B so it would be pretty unethical not to donate a small fraction of that to stop the spread of a disease like Ebola with such deadly potential. Anytime you are dealing with a highly contagious virus you have to be extremely careful, no matter how far away the outbreak is occuring.

Emma Wynn said...

I think it would be very petty and immature for the Republicans to oppose this bill solely based on partisan feelings. Of course conservatives are going to be upset about the immigration executive action. However, killing policy that is nothing but beneficial is extremely selfish. Like Andros mentioned, the United States has a huge defense budget so I'm pretty sure the Republicans can give a small amount of money to fight this virus. A month ago people were getting so worked up about Ebola because of its presence in the United States. It just seems pretty selfish of us if we cannot help out fellow humans to fight this terrible problem.
I ultimately think that Republicans will support this. Like Alex said, they do have feelings and hopefully they will put their partisan grudges aside.

John Graham said...

Yes, Ebola is a deadly virus. Yes, it is a communicable disease Yes, Ebola could be very dangerous if we let the situation simply proliferate. But I don't understand why we are taking money out of a defense budget to fight it. Where's the part of the budget allocated to pay for world emergencies? As far as I'm concerned, Americans are only concerned about Ebola because they know that it's relevant to them. What about hunger? 21,000 people die everyday from a lack of food, that's 4 people every second (United Nations). And I'm quoting Vivian on this: "Ebola...has killed around 5,700 people as of November 25th". Hunger kills nearly 3.5 as many people a DAY as Ebola has killed over the past few MONTHS. If President Obama cares about a death count why not donate money to countries so that they can afford to feed their citizens. Oh right, because hunger can't kill the rich, Ebola can. That's why.

I'm not saying Ebola isn't a terrible and detrimental disease! It is! It most definitely does deserve attention and funding from the US to fight, but I think it is ridiculous that only now the US government wants to save lives. The US government is no philanthropist for donating to end the epidemic, they simply want to seem that way.

CleoWienbar7 said...

While the spread of Ebola is slowing (, aid is still needed to contain it completely and prevent more deaths. More importantly, aid should be allocated to build up resources to fight the next epidemic. During the Ebola outbreak there was a chronic shortage of basic medical supplies, hospital beds and medical professionals. Some of that aid should fund the expansion of these resources. If we do not build up a decent healthcare system in Africa, outbreaks of some kind will continue to happen.
In addition to creating a healthcare system, there must also be educational programs that focus on preventing the spread of disease. This is especially important given cultural customs such as frequent physical contact and various burial procedures.

Andros Petrakis said...

@john, the money isn't being taken out of the defense budget for this relief. I was merely making a comparison to the huge amount of money spent on defense, and how $6 billion isn't really a huge chunk of money to spend on the scale of things. Sorry for the confusion.

Spencer Larsen6 said...

Putting the Immigration mandate aside, I honestly believe that conservatives should question Obama's relief plan. Why must it be that the United States pay for relief? Why can't other capable nations like the United Kingdom or Germany pay for this plan, or at least help pay for it? According to our Defense/War budget is $594 billion, not the $718 billion you stated. Obama's plan would take 1% of that budget. I would argue that is too much money to spend on something that simply does not really effect the US. I do believe however that the US and other powerful nations could, and should team up to pay for relief. If all of them chip in, they could easily come up with $6 billion for the relief needed.

Netta Wang 7 said...

I have to agree with John in regards to the severity of Ebola relative to other more long standing and widespread issues in impoverished countries. While I believe the relief aid will definitely help many of those with Ebola or at risk to it, there are so many other diseases out there that are more prevalent and much cheaper to aid. For example, diarrhea is a leading cause of death in Ethiopia as well as many other African countries, even though it is almost always curable if the patient can just stay hydrated. Only basic water - no specialized shots or drugs - is needed to cure this disease, yet it is still a huge problem. Not only is diarrhea not as newsworthy to talk about in developed countries as Ebola is, like John mentioned, it is also not an issue for Americans, and therefore the attention it gets is much more limited. The donated funds are a great contribution, I totally agree, but it almost seems like a way of saying "America doesn't care about 'your' diseases until it's seemingly coming to attack us."

And, as Cleo mentioned, the shortage of proper and hygienic medical supplies and doctors causes many of these outbreaks like Ebola as well as continues chronic issues like diarrhea or malaria. The problem is much larger and much more complicated than this "new" Ebola outbreak, so, like doctors aim to treat the causes and not the symptoms, I think the best aid would be directly towards Africa's healthcare infrastructure rather than treating one effect of it. With that mindset of a more longterm goal and plan, I believe that not only will money be saved from not having to allocate funds towards specific risks, but many more lives as well.

Andros Petrakis said...

@spencer, the $718 billion was in 2011, though i originally thought it was the 2013 budget. the exact number, however, doesnt matter. I used the defense budget, because it is unbelievably huge, and it still only makes up ~20% of our whole budget. I also disagree with your statement that this doesn't affect the US. this is an international issue, and the US is a power player that has the huge budget that can afford to help countries in need. if the countries don't get the aid they need, more outbreaks of other diseases could occur in the future, as cleo mentioned. if we end this outbreak now and help build infrastructure that can deal with a variety of diseases, we limit the risk of future ourbreaks that could potentially harm the US and/or its citizens worldwide.

2011 defense budget: first line after bullet point one

Brian Yee said...

While the spread of Ebola has really been slowing down, we still need medical aid in other countries, specifically third world countries. As John mentioned, there are other issues that need to be approached and they are probably cheaper to fight. Statistically, most people die of preventable diseases due to lack of medical supplies, vaccines, and even the lack of education. That being said, simply educating others on how to prevent diseases could save millions of lives at low costs. While ebola has been addressed, it should give the US more time to reflect on other preventable diseases. Not only would this save lives, but it's rather cheap to do so. It might even strengthen our ties with other countries for providing such aid. Also, the fact that we'd be willing to help might inspire other countries to pitch in. I think that the Republicans should put their grudges aside. How would it benefit the conservatives or even democrats for that matter if they (conservatives) challenged Obama's relief plan because of his Executive order? Obama is simply trying to alleviate the spread of the virus. Countries in need of aid shouldn't be the ones to face these consequences. In fact, by challenging his relief plan, I'm sure they would lose support and their reputation would be damaged.