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One can find no greater contrast between Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump than on the issue of the free movement of people. Ronald Reagan told the governments of the Soviet Union and East Germany to let their people emigrate, whereas in a recent forum on Long Island, Donald Trump said the U.S. will punish Central American governments that do not prevent their citizens from leaving for the United States.

At an event in Bethpage, New York, on May 23, 2018, Donald Trump said, “So we’re going to work out something where every time somebody comes in from a certain country, we’re going to deduct a rather large amount of money from what we give them in aid – if we give them aid at all, which we may not just give them aid at all.”

Much of the criticism leveled against Trump’s remarks in Long Island focused on the policy wisdom of cutting aid to struggling nations. “Some immigration policy experts argue that the way to prevent migrants from coming to the U.S. is to increase aid to the region to combat poverty and gang violence,” reported the Wall Street Journal.

Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, wrote, “U.S.-supported aid projects in Central America have been shown to reduce the very violence that accelerates irregular migration.” Clemens conducted research on the root causes of child migration from Central America. He examined data on “all 179,000 children apprehended in the United States after migrating, alone and without visas, from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala from 2011 to 2016.” He found, “Ten additional murders in the region caused six more children to migrate to the United States.”

The world’s poorest people have been getting richer recently, but they remain incredibly poor, with 10 percent of the world’s population still consuming $1.90 or less a day — a small fraction of the resources available to people at the US poverty line.

That may seem so obvious as to not be worth mentioning. In the developed world, government taxes together with transfer systems like welfare payments are readily accepted as one way reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. That’s true even in the United States, where laissez-faire is a state religion.

But new data on taxation and spending in the world’s poorest countries suggests that progressive tax-and-transfer systems are far less common than you would think. In general, taxes are less progressive in those countries, financial transfers are much smaller, and the bulk of social spending is soaked up by broken health and education systems. The net effect is often that tax-and-transfer policies leave poor people worse off, not better.

On Monday, a team led by the World Health Organization began inoculating people in the Democratic Republic of Congo against the Ebola virus with an experimental vaccine in an attempt to quell an outbreak of the disease that began in early May.

That medical aid workers could begin such a campaign so quickly — within just two weeks of the earliest reported cases of the disease — is a testament to how well the lessons of the 2014 Ebola outbreak have been learned. That crisis raged across West Africa for more than a year, growing into a full-blown epidemic, claiming 11,300 lives — and yes, reaching American shores — before it was finally halted at a cost that exceeded $5.6 billion for the United States alone. Experts blamed the slow, uncoordinated response for the high death toll and steep price tag.

This time, things appear to be different: Doctors and scientists were deployed to the threatened region within days of the earliest reports of the disease, and by all accounts, global, national and nonprofit organizations have coordinated their efforts well.

To be sure, this latest resurgence of Ebola is still cause for concern. Forty-six cases have been reported so far, with 26 deaths, and the disease has already spread from the country’s remote northern reaches to a populous port city. But so far, the World Health Organization has not declared the crisis a “public health emergency of international concern,” the agency’s most serious designation. If efforts succeed, health officials say, the scourge could be eradicated by summer’s end.

“A lot of what’s working now is the result of remembering and learning from previous failures,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development and the director of foreign disaster assistance at the United States Agency for International Development during the Obama administration.