AIDS funds could be gained in a tax on currency speculation

Wednesday, January 19, 2011; 8:03 PM

Gregg Gonsalves's Jan. 14 Washington Forum commentary, "Is Obama willing to fight AIDS?," castigated President Obama's global AIDS budget. Mr. Gonsalves accurately paraphrased evidence demonstrating that the Obama administration has pitted AIDS funding against other global health priorities. However, Mr. Gonsalves's op-ed did not offer Mr. Obama solutions to fund global health in this economic milieu.

One solution is a financial speculation tax. Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) introduced the Investing in Our Future Act, which would fund global health initiatives by imposing a speculation tax of 0.005 percent on the $4 trillion currency transactions market. This small tax could raise an estimated $28 billion a year. Similar proposals have gained support in France, Germany, Spain and Britain.

Global health is the moral litmus test of our time. As former president George W. Bush wrote on World AIDS Day ["America's global fight against AIDS," op-ed, Dec. 1], "A thousand pressing issues come with each day. But there are only a few that you will want to talk about in retirement with your children. The continuing fight against global AIDS is something for which America will be remembered."

I urge Mr. Obama and Congress to endorse Mr. Stark's bill.

Anand Reddi, Denver

The writer is a member of the board of directors of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

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