An article in Foreign Affairs suggests that the cost of ending ‘absolute poverty’– defined as an income of less than $1.25 a day– is dropping, and it’s a bargain. Six years ago it would have cost about $96 billion; today it’d be just $40 billion. That’s the amount Paul Ryan shaves off millionaires’ taxes before breakfast.
There are a few caveats, such as the hassle of actually identifying the abysmally poor, but it’s doable. Double the price if you like, it’s still a bargain.
Also see the amazing chart here. In the last few years, thanks to the increasing prosperity of India and China, as well as successful anti-poverty programs in Brazil, global poverty is now mainly concentrated in Africa.
Now we’re talking here about poverty by global standards, not by US standards. Still, it’s a remarkable thing, and we should go for it.