Global Marshall Plan resolution introduced in Congress-H.Res. 1078 by Congressmen Keith Ellison, Emanuel Cleaver and Jim Moran
H.Res. 1078 calls for a return of the Marshall Plan. That plan was used by the U.S. in the post World War II years to rebuild Europe. It was celebrated as America’s most successful foreign policy program because it convinced Europeans that the U.S. was a reliable ally and friend.
This time, however, the target is both domestic and global. H. Res. 1078 calls for the U.S. to provide enough funding to eliminate global poverty, homelessness, hunger, inadequate education, inadequate health care, and repair of the environment.
Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the resolution’s sponsor, explained his introduction of the measure as a natural outgrowth of his concern for peace, prosperity for working families, environmental sustainability, and human rights.
“I believe a Global Marshall Plan offers a compelling framework for the Congress to consider reform and revitalization of our international public diplomacy and foreign aid,” Ellison said. “America is at its best when it demonstrates its generosity.
“When we see reminders everywhere of the costs of spending $12 billion per month on war in Iraq, I look forward to the conversations about changes in principles and priorities that this resolution will bring,” Ellison concluded.
“At a moment when General Petraeus is asking for another $110 billion for a deeply unpopular war, the Global Marshall Plan provides an alternative strategy for homeland security,” said Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun and chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, an organization that developed the Global Marshall Plan and which will now be launching a nationwide campaign to get the presidential candidates to support the idea.
“In the 21st century,” Rabbi Lerner pointed out, “our security and well-being depend on the well-being of everyone else on this planet, and on the well-being of the planet itself.”
“Our caring for all people can be manifested through a Global Marshall Plan that would dedicate 1-2% of our annual Gross Domestic Product each year for the next twenty years to eliminate once and for all domestic and global poverty, homelessness, hunger, inadequate education, and inadequate health care and to repair damage done to the environment.”
Such a program needs the participation of the other advanced industrial countries and the recipient countries’ most talented leaders, as well as local communities representing the poor and outstanding figures in the ethical, cultural, religious and non-profit sectors of the relevant societies who can ensure the best use of the resources, as well as to ensure that the monies are used in environmentally sustainable and culturally sensitive ways, and to guarantee that the monies are not siphoned off by governments or local elites but actually reach the people in need. This program, initiated by the Network of Spiritual Progressives also calls for amending all existing and future trade agreements to ensure that they serve the economic well-being of the poor and not just the interests of the wealthy nations or local elites in countries with high levels of poverty. We want the United States to take the leadership in starting this effort.
“We approach this initiative with a spirit of humility,” said Rabbi Lerner, “not only because of the legacy of colonialism, but because we can learn much from societies whose economic poverty does not signify a poverty of wisdom. Generosity of spirit as well as financial generosity are an integral part of our Global Marshall Plan, which we affirm not only because it is a central component in any plan to achieve “homeland security,” but also because it reflects our commitment to recognize every human being on this planet as equally valuable and deserving of care.” HR 1078 expresses the need for a similar humility in delivering support for the world’s poor.
Rabbi Lerner has called upon religious liberals and progressives (what the media calls “the Religious Left”) to call their Congressional representatives to explain why they should support the ideas behind the Global Marshall Plan.