Wednesday, July 09, 2003

$15bn for AIDS?

With Bush off to Africa, he is sure to tout his $15bn plan to combat AIDS at every opportunity. But in reality, as Linda Bilmes of the Financial Times observes, "nothing like $15bn will ever be spent."

So far, Bush has only requested $1.9bn in his 2003 budget -- "an increase of just $450m on what was spent in 2002 and a third less than the $3bn a year" promised in this year's SOTU. And, because of the growing federal deficit, it'll be very difficult for Bush to raise this number in the future.

In other words, as Bilmes puts it, "the US still has to put its money where its mouth is."

Update: In a related story, the BBC reports that "Republicans in Congress are planning on cutting back the money allocated to [Bush's] much-vaunted plans to tackle HIV/Aids and encourage development."