December 3rd, 2008
03:45 PM ET
3 years ago

Gates presses Obama on stimulus package, foreign aid

Gates is pressing Obama to double the United State's foreign aid commitment.
Gates is pressing Obama to double the United State's foreign aid commitment.

(CNN) – Microsoft founder Bill Gates told CNN Wednesday he hopes President-elect Barack Obama and Congress immediately craft a wide-ranging stimulus package to help jump-start the nation's sputtering economy, and double the United State's commitment to foreign aid.

"Clearly we need a stimulus that doesn’t undermine the incentive for businesses to be careful about their spending and making those correct investments," Gates told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an exclusive interview airing on The Situation Room Wednesday and Thursday.

Watch Bill Gates on the economy

Gates, among the world's richest men and founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, is also calling on the future commander-in-chief to increase investments in the nation's education system and spur technological advances to improve agriculture, prevent disease, and economic growth in the world's poorest nations.

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"The key point I’d make is that in addition to that stimulus, you’ve got to fund the kind of scientific work and educational investments that could really have us be a much better country as we emerge from the recession," he said.

According to Obama's Web site, the incoming president has pledged to double the United State's annual investment in foreign aid to $50 billion by the end of his first term, with the goal of fully funding debt cancellation for indebted poor nations and fighting AIDS and global poverty.

In the interview with CNN, Gates said he expects Obama will live up to that commitment.

"Obviously it's the Congress that gets to actually vote the final decision for how the money is spent but I do think he will get to that commitment," Gates said. "I am thrilled to be able to see that people are responding to the success stories. Aid from the United States did go up in the last eight years."

The interview came shortly before the Microsoft founder delivered a wide-ranging speech at George Washington University, during which he reiterated his call for a major new stimulus package to spur job growth.

"Spending is the only way we'll ever come out of this downturn, and with businesses, state governments and consumers pulling back, the federal government must step forward," Gates told the crowd.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has distributed more than $17 billion in grant commitments in all 50 states and 100 countries. In his interview with CNN, Gates said he had personally given over $30 billion to the foundation.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Tek Seifu

    How can we take Bill Gates seriously, when he is one of those who has some contribution to the situation we are in now? Is he not one of those who were exporting jobs from this country and importing Hi-Tech workers to this country in the past years? I appreciate those who keep the jobs in U.S. and hire US workers by training them when required.

    December 3, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. Jack

    Perhaps Bill Gates would be interested in finding candidates that support the economic plan of President Obama instead of funding the likes of republicans that want to stifle change.

    December 3, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. gene

    Why would we want to double the United States commitment for foreign aid when today in Des Moines, Iowa the city are removing homeless people from there shacks they call home. We should be helping our own people before we help others. Some of them gave years of service to protect this country and this is how we show our thanks.

    December 3, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. Angel

    Good point Tek....good point

    December 3, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    To whom this may concern, we american people need a financial bailout to help save thier home and other loans such as auto loans credit card ect.we have had home owners, that houses are either in forclosure or already have been forclosured.I understand that the carmakers need a bailout, but what about the tax payers, that are taking the most hit in this economy.

    December 3, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. Pepou

    Since the Iraq war is costing us 10 billions a month, do the math ...

    December 3, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. Gloria

    Gates is doing everything he can to help foreign countries. He should put as much effort into helping out his own country.

    December 3, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  8. rk

    Bill...shut up! you're already worth 10% of the bailout. You should not talk! Put your money where your mouth is...give me 10billion, i need a handout. whatever...loser~!

    December 3, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. Rush Lameduck

    This guy is so smart and at the same a moron.He thinks everyone should ride a bicycle,but own a laptop with Windows installed of course.

    December 3, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  10. No Hillary = No Obama

    Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to become not only a very rich man, but changed the way the world does business, communicates, learns, and basically, changed the world. I don't recall Obama wanting Bill Gates as an economic advisor – he wants Warren Buffet. The moral of the story you can drop out of Harvard and change the world without promoting yourself as someone who can change the world. One is true brillance – the other pure ego.

    December 3, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. Armando

    We need to save and produce. Not spend more and more. Can someone please explain to me how doing the same thing that got us into this problem will get us out? No more spending and no more bailouts!

    December 3, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  12. Nick

    Tek, there are not enough good American engineers to fill all of the tech jobs in America. There are two (closely related) reasons for this: first, Americans would rather get an MBA, law, or medical degree than a degree in engineering; second, most Americans are not trained well enough in math and science to be successful engineers (and, for the most part, this isn't training that can be done after somebody has already graduated from college - it needs to start when they are in kindergarten). If we want to remain a superpower, we need to do two things related to the tech industry: first, in the short term, we need to import more hi-tech works and encourage foreigners getting Ph.D's in engineering to stay in America so that American businesses benefit from their brains (and state and federal governments benefit from their tax dollars); second, in the long term, we need to improve math and science education starting from as early as kindergarten so that American students can compete with students from India, China, Iran, etc.

    December 3, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. Patrick

    Yamas the world needs help notice that peace of the people work that out inventions ect. save many. They can get rich but really in( peace ) not moneys. patrick3jordan@yahoo

    December 6, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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