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. gary n.

    Let's take care of ourselves first and never mind the foreign aid.

    December 3, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. Nick

    Here's an idea to the world's richest man... find a company that is floundering, and give them your own bailout. Or shut up!

    December 3, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. KG

    How about this Mr Gates? Let's fix all the issues we have here at home before we start worrying about foreign aid.

    December 3, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Jenny

    What about single grandmothers like me losing their homes
    cause I lost a job and had to take a lower paying job
    the bank will not consolidate some loans I have with my home
    so therefore they will take my home and put me and my grandchild
    to live on the streets we have no where to go

    Franklin Ky

    December 3, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. D9

    Wow...you think so, Bill?! The guy never changes...always proposing as his own something positive already created or spoken of by others.

    December 3, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Bob

    We need to spend money in US and not give it away to other countries. The US has always stepped up and helped every nation with their hand out but it is time to say "no more charity abroad " until every man, woman and child has a bed to sleep in and food on the table.

    Bill and Melinda Gates have given millions away to foreign countries and have turned their back on the citizens in poverty in the US. It is their money and they can do as they like but they need to step back and see the hungry, sick and desperate children in the US that could use a helping hand.

    December 3, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. KG

    How about this Mr Gates? Let's worry about our folks here at home before we start worrying about foreign aid. It's easy to sit their smugly and discuss your donations when you have a gazillion dollars, but when your in the real world, slugging it out in the trenches day to day, you'd like to see your tax dollars actually go to help you and your fellow Americans.

    December 3, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. NV, NYC

    Who is he to press? He pressed Congress about more Visas for foreigner workers and he got it. Needless to say, he is paying to these workers much less than he would pay to Americans. It is how he got his billions. Is he hopping about a position in new administration?

    December 3, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Harvey

    Way to go Bill. If I were the richest man in the world, it would be pretty easy for me to recommend to Government how it should spend taxpayers dollars.

    After all, very little of what government does will ever effect how you live out your life, but for me it can be the difference in being ravaged by those in power and finishing up a lifetime of work in a degree of comfort but not wealth.

    You are an example of someone who was in the right place at the right time; a place where opportunity and prepareness met.

    While you might say it was hard work, you have the same hours in your day I have and I'll bet there has never been a day you worked any harder than I have.

    December 3, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. Sal

    He probably wants Obama to allow more H1-b contractors into the U.S. so he and his fat cat buddies won't have to hire Americans to do I.T. work. The question is which economy Gates wants to stimulate. I doubt it is the American economy.

    December 3, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. alreadytiredofit

    Hey, Bill, why don't you open your wallet and spend some of those billions we gave you for a crappy operating system. Buffet, Exxon, you, and all the other billionaires could stimulate the economy if you really wanted to.

    December 3, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Get over it

    He Bill, why don't you throw some of YOUR own money into the stimulus package, after all, you could bail out the Big 3 automakers yourself.

    December 3, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Alex, Omaha NE

    First, CNN, your story is wrong. Gates isn't the world's richest man....Warren Buffett (from OMAHA NEBRASKA) is.

    Second....Buffett has given advice to Obama already. Gates needs to hush.

    December 3, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. David

    Bill Gates is my hero. This is a man of great intellect.

    Also, he inspired me into becoming a Computer Scientist.

    December 3, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. no bailouts

    i love bill and melinda gates.

    December 3, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Jack the Dog

    Hey Bill, how about you fix that lousy Windows operating system. How about an investment in that.

    December 3, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. University Professor

    More science and technology programs in universities could easily be created and funded by eliminating the wasteful spending on business schools and law schools. University presidents and administrators could do a lot for the country by simply deciding to reduce or eliminate business programs and pre-law programs for undergraduates and instead direct the exact same funds to new programs and departments in the natural sciences, applied sciences, and fields that actually have something to contribute to humankind. No stimulus package is needed for this, just a commitment to produce university graduates who actually can think and create something instead of just mindlessly exploit the system and the hard work of others.

    December 3, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. Carmen

    You got it right Mr. Gates, education has to be a top priority in our country, this is the only way to prepare our future leaders. The stimulus package needs to focus on that.

    December 3, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Mari

    I agree with Bill Gates! President-elect Obama will take care of the stimulus package, and we, Americans need to do our share as well.

    No other president since FDR has faced such an economic disaster!

    God bless President-elect Obama!

    December 3, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. joec

    I agree with Bill Gates that funding education is probably the best investment we can make in our future. But that has to wait a bit, until we navigate out of this turbulent sea of the economy. We need to restore Americans' confidence in their government and in the financial institutions. When that is at least on the road to recovery, then we should turn our attention to elevating the quality of education of our future leaders. As Gates also says, we need to invest in the Third-World countries so that their standard of living is improved. What better way to cement relationships with the rest of the world and restore our place as the beacon of hope?

    December 3, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. jerry l

    "to improve agriculture, prevent disease, and economic growth in the world's poorest nations."

    Farmers are barely making a living in the US, our economy is in shambles and Bill Gates takes his billions overseas to help the Third World. Where did he get all his money from? Americans, by and large. And he wants us to do more overseas? I can just see it. He'll get the US to help farmers overseas and create competitors for US farmer thus driving them out of business. Corn and wheat are our "oil".

    What has he done for us lately (except give us VISTA LOL)?

    December 3, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Max in Phoenix, AZ

    I admire the fact he's using his status to speak on the issues and economy and speak out for those who don't have the status to get their voice(s) heard. And it's nice to see a Seattlite in the news!

    December 3, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. michael oxenrider

    Is it true that we can cure tuberculosis worldwide for a fraction of the cost of one month at war?

    December 3, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. rob

    all of his employees are in 3rd world countries -so why does he care anyway

    December 3, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Winnipegsuperman

    This is coming from the richest man on the face of the universe!!! Uh! They will ignore you just like they have ignored everyone before you. Continue with your good work Bill

    December 3, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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