Infographic breaks link between death and taxes

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“Nothing is certain but death and taxes.”

click on image to enlarge

click on image to enlarge

With the grim association stirred by the old adage credited to Benjamin Franklin, selling taxpayers on the idea of chipping in more would seem to be a hard sell. But a new infographic from amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, takes on the challenge with a novel appeal — tax dollars save lives.

How much would you pay save a person’s life, control a deadly epidemic, improve a child’s chances of surviving to adulthood?

The average American taxpayer is spending $14.14 a year to accomplish that and more, according to the graphic. That’s how the division works out of the one quarter of one percent of the entire United States federal budget that goes to global health efforts — including fighting HIV and malaria and getting vaccines to children who could otherwise die of preventable diseases — by the total number of taxpayers, amfAR calculated. That means each one of us can take credit for getting a two and half week supply of lifesaving treatment for HIV to someone who needs it, providing malaria treatment for 26 people or immunizing two children against diseases, the infographic shows. The graphic, based on unit costs for antiretroviral medicine, malaria treatment, and vaccines supplied by programs supported with U.S. dollars takes the appeal a step further: What if each taxpayer spent $25 a year instead?

That would be roughly the cost of five trips to Starbucks, instead of the three trips represented in the first total, amfAR vice president and director of public policy Chris Collins says. That, according to the infographic, would supply nearly a month of HIV-fighting medicine, provide malaria treatment to 46 people, and immunize, as the graphic puts it, “3.5 children.” The last alone is enough to make you want to chip in a little more over that, to take care of that half child.

“The infographic is basically simple math,” Collins said. “We wanted to show people how modest the average taxpayer’s investment is in global health, and also how many good things come out of it.  We can certainly afford to do more.”

An editorial by Collin’s and amfAR’s Michal McDowell is on Huffington Post Impact blog, here.

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