Member Statements

AESG Member Statement: A Call for US Leadership on Global Vaccination Efforts

August 09 2021 • Aspen Economic Strategy Group

The United States government should take up a position of world leadership on ending the global COVID-19 pandemic through vaccine outreach to the world. Such an effort would serve a clear humanitarian purpose. It would represent forward defense of our security interests by slowing the virus’s rate of mutation. No other action would so clearly signify a US commitment to enlightened international leadership at a time when our strength and outward looking vision is increasingly being challenged and no other initiative would do more to stabilize the global economy.

Wise policy making requires balancing rigorous attention to detail with bold vision. If national commitment awaited detailed technocratic plans, the U.S. would never have launched the Marshall Plan, sent a man to the moon, or launched the PEPFAR policy that has done so much to combat AIDS. With the Delta variant of COVID becoming pervasive and more mutations likely, now is the time for bold action. The necessary global approach will involve financial commitments, as well as active policies to encourage production capacity at home and abroad, to strengthen local health system capacity in partnership with developing countries, and to promote private sector initiatives.  We must reject the false dichotomy between domestic and global efforts. Given mutation risk, safety anywhere depends on safety everywhere.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that roughly 60 percent of the world could be vaccinated by mid-2022 for $50 billion. This is less than one percent of what the US has already committed in response to COVID. Other nations would join a US initiative. Because US spending could be leveraged by the international financial institutions and the private sector, each dollar of US contribution could be leveraged 5 or 10 to 1. In all likelihood, US investment in global vaccination would pay for itself several times over by strengthening the US and global economy, reducing further virus spread, and building international good will towards the United States.

 

SIGNATORIES*

Mary Barra
General Motors

Ben Bernanke
Brookings Institution

Joshua Bolten
Business Roundtable; Former White House Chief of Staff

Erskine Bowles
Aspen Economic Strategy Group; Former White House Chief of Staff

Chad Bown
Peterson Institute for International Economics

Ken Chenault
General Catalyst

Susan Collins
University of Michigan

David M. Cote
Vertiv Holdings

James S. Crown
Henry Crown & Company

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.
TIAA (Emeritus)

Michael Froman
Mastercard; Former US Trade Representative

Jason Furman
Harvard University

Timothy Geithner
Warburg Pincus; Former US Treasury Secretary

Austan Goolsbee
University of Chicago

Glenn Hubbard
Columbia University

Doug Holtz-Eakin
American Action Forum

Neel Kashkari
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Melissa S. Kearney
The University of Maryland; Aspen Economic Strategy Group

Jacob Lew
Lindsay Goldberg; Former US Treasury Secretary

Maya MacGuineas
Committee For a Responsible Federal Budget

David McCormick
Bridgewater 

Marc Morial
National Urban League

Janet Murguia
Unidos US

Michael A. Nutter
Former Mayor of Philadelphia

Jim Owens
Caterpillar (Emeritus)

Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
The Paulson Institute; Aspen Economic Strategy Group; Former US Treasury Secretary

John Podesta
Center for American Progress; Former White House Chief of Staff

Ruth Porat
Alphabet and Google

James Poterba
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Penny Pritzker
PSP Partners; Former US Secretary of Commerce

Robert Rubin
Centerview Partners; Former US Treasury Secretary

Paul Ryan
American Idea Foundation; Former US Speaker of the House

Matthew Slaughter
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Margaret Spellings
Texas 2036

Michael R. Strain
American Enterprise Institute

Lawrence H. Summers
Harvard University; Former US Treasury Secretary

Mark Weinberger
EY (Emeritus)

Robert Zoellick
Brunswick Group; Former President of the World Bank

 

*Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the position of members’ institutions.