Bono hailed Americans for re-electing President Barack Obama but reminded them of the dire consequences that lie ahead because of the economy.
The U2 frontman touched on the relationship between politics and extreme poverty Monday night in his keynote speech during the Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown University, after acknowledging Obama’s victory over challenger Mitt Romney last week.
“Congratulations are in order not just for turning out in record numbers — and forgetting politics for a minute — but for electingan extraordinary man as president,” Bono said of Obama. “I think you have to say that whatever your political tradition.”
Bono went on to joke about attack ads, imitate former President Bill Clinton, compare punk rock to world history, forecast a potentially dark future and warn Georgetown’s students that a recession might rob them of their chance to make their mark on the world.
The 52-year-old Irish singer, a self-styled “evidence-based activist,” warned that economic decisions being debated in America could have devastating consequences for the extreme poor. He referred to the impending “fiscal cliff,” the year-end expiration of tax cuts Americans have had for a decade and other budget realities some fear may restart the recession and cost millions more their jobs.
Bono warned that fiscal decisions should not cost lives lost through lack of medical treatment or other aid.
“Cuts can cost the lives of the poorest of the poor,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a hard case to make, but it is right now. In the halls of Congress, the Senate, maybe here in Healy Hall. But I put it to you we must not let this economic recession become a moral recession. That would become a double cruelty.”