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Monday, Jun 18, 2018
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Letter of the Day

Battling world poverty

Economics Professor Muhammad Yunus is now only the seventh person in history to receive the Congressional Medal of Freedom as well as the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The medal was awarded to honor Professor Yunus for his many years of work creating and developing the concept of microfinance and his lifelong pursuit of eradicating poverty. Worldwide, 1.2 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day. A majority of those in poverty are women and children. Yunus founded Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983, providing very small loans to poor people who were desperately seeking to improve their positions. The venture exploded myths about conventional banking and was very successful, bringing great positive change to millions of people who were lifted out of poverty. We generally think of good investment being investments in big businesses, but investment in individuals, especially the poor, can actually create consumers, decrease the effects of poverty (disease, crime, etc.) and grow the economy of the community. Reps. Gus Biliarakis, Kathy Castor and Bill Young and Sen. Bill Nelson cosponsored the legislation awarding the Gold Medal to Yunus. I am proud of their efforts and appreciate their support of Yunus and his important contributions.
Professor Yunus has inspired Congress with his commitment to ending poverty. The medal was greatly deserved, but Congress needs to act on this inspiration by funding poverty-ending assistance programs that can further the economic development, health and education of individuals who can then spread that economic growth throughout their communities. Diane Gainford Tampa

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