Ban Ki-Moon Urges Action on Somalian Famine The United Nations declared famine in Somalia and across the region Wednesday, writes U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in the Los Angeles Times, and now the international community must act. "This is a wake-up call we cannot ignore," he writes. "Every day I hear the harrowing reports from our U.N. teams on the ground. Somali refugees, their cattle and goats dead from thirst, walking for weeks to find help in Kenya and Ethiopia. Children who arrive alone, terrified and malnourished, their parents dead, in a foreign land." Ban estimates that $1.6 billion of aid will be needed and he urges readers to answer his call either by donating individually or urging lawmakers to respond. Additionally, the international community must also address underlying causes such as climate change and conflict that lead to famine, he writes, with projects like drought-resistant seeds and improved prediction and warning systems.
President Obama on a Balanced Approach The United States has too much debt, writes President Barack Obama in USA Today, "debt that will ultimately weaken our economy, lead to higher interest rates for all Americans, and leave us unable to invest in things like education, or protect vital programs like Medicare." Obama says he is willing to "cut historic amounts of spending" in areas both wasteful and useful. "[S]ome of the cuts would target worthwhile programs that do a lot of good for our country," he writes. "They're cuts that some people in my own party aren't too happy about, and frankly, I wouldn't make them if we didn't have so much debt." Obama says these cuts must be paired with increased contributions from wealthy individuals and corporations. "Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, we should ask people like me to give up tax breaks they don't need and never asked for," he says. He concludes with a call for bipartisanship, writing, "a balanced deficit deal that includes some new revenues isn't just a Democratic position. It's a position that has been taken by everyone from Warren Buffett to Bill O'Reilly."