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The Price Tag for Obama's Antipoverty Moonshot

President Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 12, 2013
President Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 12, 2013Photograph by Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

If there was a moonshot moment in President Obama’s State of the Union speech, it involved global development. The U.S., Obama pledged, “will join with our allies to eradicate extreme poverty in the next two decades.”  Part of that effort would involve saving the world’s children from preventable deaths and “realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation.”

In one short paragraph, Obama committed the U.S. and its partners to ending absolute poverty planetwide and saving millions of lives each year. Even more astounding is that the goal is plausible—if, that is, the U.S. is willing to spend the same as we did on the original moonshot and ask the rest of the world to do the same.