Freedom, From Want

James Traub in the New York Times Magazine:

At a panel in Davos, someone asked former President Bill Clinton why Washington seemed so impervious to demands to increase aid. ”Because nobody will ever get beat for Congress or president for not doing it,” Clinton shot back. That may have sounded too deflating, for Clinton quickly added that in the U.S., too, ”an effective political constituency” over aid had begun to form. Conservative church groups, for example, backed President Bush’s decision in 2003 to spend $15 billion on international AIDS programs over three years. Nevertheless, Americans appear disengaged on the development agenda, just as Europeans appear to us to be disengaged on the terrorism agenda. Each side seems governed by a reciprocal parochialism.

More here.