December 3rd, 2008
03:45 PM ET
4 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.

OPEN LETTER: Sign up for Gate's candid take

"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. Christy

    Aid to foreign countries while we are in a recession? So that they will be able to buy more microsoft products? At least a few of us will get richer in the down economy.

    December 3, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    I am sorry to rain on anyone's parade, but Bill Gates could and should be using his Foundation's money to do some of those things that he wants the federal government to do. Why wait for Washington, he could begin erecting new schools or awarding scholarships TODAY!

    Love your Windows products, Bill, but your generosity needs a reboot!.

    December 3, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Laura

    Go Bill Go!!! Too bad he didn't want to run for President! He is a man with MUCH common sense!

    December 3, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. reza naderi

    You Are The Best.

    December 3, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. I used to be a Democrat

    Bill Gates has more money than the government. Why doesn't he put his own money where is mouth is?

    December 3, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Spencer/NY to VA

    Bill Gates the Billionaire. I bet he voted for McCain just like Donald Trump the Billionaire did. Sorry guys, you've got to cough up some more money. But don't worry, you can afford it. I agree with the investments that Bill is suggesting besides for the economic growth of the world's poorest nations. Yes, this is America and we do have a moral obligation to uphold, but we have got to get our house back in order before we go try and fix someone else's.

    December 3, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. shucks

    I am sooooo happy that Bill Gates has given sooooooo much for foreign aid. The only sad part is I work in a field that sees the poor, hungry, elderly who can't afford their medications, children that go to bed hungry who have parents who both work in jobs that just barely keep them above poverty. And right now, food banks across the country have no food to give to the hungry. Let's take care of these in need here before we promise billions more to other countries. I admire his determination, I just feel he and the many "celebrities" that do their best philanthropic activities overseas need to look in their own back yards first.

    December 3, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Sabrina Celestine,Royal Oak MI

    Easy for Bill Gates to give advice on what to do in the US ecomnomy, when he shelters not paying taxes here in the US by moving his business oversea's to avoid tax dollars.
    He also thinks Americans should be charitable and contribute money to those less fortunate overseas!
    As a resident of Michigan that has lost over 400,000jobs, and more on the way and our income is less ,then it was 15yrs ago and mortgage and everyhing else is higher, I am not worried about those overseas that now have the jobs we once had! If he is so gung ho on this country why doesn't he move back here and put some of the tax dollars back into this economy rather then burden what is left of the low paid tax payers. Yes he is so rich and successful and he had help that many do not afforded to them and if he is so concerned about workers perhaps he should hire a few instead of pushing for more visas

    December 3, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Nia Hussein- Phoenix, AZ

    Gates could fund the school system all on his own....but anyway glad to see folks are involved...hopefuly he will offer more ideas

    December 3, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. William Ford

    WHy doesn't Bill Gates by the Big Three? AutoSoft or MicroMotors?

    December 3, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Larry Robinson in Belton TX

    Gates can give all the money he wants to foreigners, but America needs to get real about taking care of its own. Gates hasn't got a clue about the street I live on.

    December 3, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Michelle Archibald

    Based on Bill Gates speaking with CNN today. I agree that it will take more than the government $700B package to resolve the many issues that USA faces. In fact I agree with him, that private investors should come together and support many areas. It is "we, us, we are all in this together".

    December 3, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Mike Dallas

    Mr. Gates, I am sure Obama will make the effort to improve the educational system and update the electrical grid if you fund it!

    Remember you also have all of Warren Buffets funds in addition to yours, that would go a long way to both efforts.

    December 3, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Great team players

    Gates and Obama–now there's a power-packed team!

    December 3, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    I think that at this pint Bill gates could be richer then our entire country.

    Why doesn't he show an example how to stimulate our economy by bringing back tens of thousands of jobs that Microsoft outsourced to India?!

    December 3, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. ran

    He is someone we all should listen to.

    December 3, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    Hey, open your wallet pal. Time to be a patriot Bill, time to chip in, time to be part of the America dream and change Obama and Biden want the rest of us working stiff have to pay in taxes soon.

    December 3, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Matthew, Houston, TX

    Let's see, give the money to the heads of households who will go out and spend that money, thereby giving it to the companies who want it, will save it and thereby expand the pool of money available to lend or pay off debts which will also expand the pool of money available to lend OR give it directly to the companies who will use it to buy other companies, send their executives to a spa or create a supply that no one can afford.

    Choices, choices . . .

    December 3, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. Sweetie

    Bill,

    I have one word for you and it is why I have lost all respect for you and Microsoft.....

    VISTA!

    Next time get the bugs out before you force sell!

    December 3, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. Kris

    A billionaire is giving advice... asking to help the other countries of the world? How bout you take a billion of your own dollars, give each household in America a 100 grand, help us out who are hungry, who work two jobs and still can't get ahead... how bout instead, you just move to Africa and forget you were even born here.

    December 3, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. JBS

    Mr. Gates everybody speaks of a stimulus package, to the bank, to the stock market, to big financial groups who were well educated to serve the people and big corporations. Why don’t we direct this stimulus package directly to the people?
    My suggestion is to give; every NON millionaire resident of the USA one million dollars for them to pay all their Mortgages and Bills. The banks get all their money back and companies can create jobs and this solves all the financial problems for everybody!!!

    December 3, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. rich

    Agree with Bill 100% not because he has money, but because what he is saying makes absolute sense. There is no doubt that Obama will follow thru on much of these ideas as it's clear her truly understands the predicament the country is in.

    December 3, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Matt

    You know what? Who cares? Here's yet another absolute jerk whose opinion gets published and listened to just because he's rich. Micro$oft is a monopolistic, cut-throat, randian, anti-trust violating demon of the capitalist world. Gates' can take his opinion and shove it you-know-where.(and I don't care if he's right or how much he gives to chairty in an attempt to absolve himself of his sins).

    December 3, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. tennyson

    he is just wonderful man , GOD gifted ,keep it up Bill may GOD bless your family

    December 3, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. JBS

    My suggestion is to give; every NON millionaire resident of the USA one million dollars for them to pay only "their residents home Mortgage" and Bills. The banks get all their money back and companies can create jobs and this solves all the financial problems for everybody!!!

    December 3, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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