Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Your taxes at work

I'm always particularly angry to see taxpayers' money being wasted on ridiculous Government projects. One such investigation is reported by Fox News.

The federal government is spending $178,000 to better understand why drug-abusing prostitutes in Thailand are at greater risk for HIV infection, an endeavor taxpayer watchdogs are calling a huge waste of American taxpayers' money.

The National Institutes of Health study, "Substance Use and HIV Risk among Thai Women," is looking at the interplay of personal and cultural factors that put Thai prostitutes at special risk.

But women aren't its only target. The two-year project, made possible by a grant from the NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse, is also studying kathoey, the transgender prostitutes who are widely accepted in Thailand because of the "karmic idea in Buddhism," and who have especially high HIV infection rates, according to the study's abstract.

Researchers plan to interview 60 sex workers -- 36 women and 24 kathoey -- to understand the factors that make the prostitutes susceptible to HIV, including economic pressure, sex-change operations, their heavy use of drugs and a Buddhist fatalism that keeps them feeling resigned to their fate.

The NIH funds many studies that focus on HIV risk and prevention in hopes that it can lay the vital groundwork for developing treatment and intervention plans to thwart the deadly AIDS virus.

But government watchdogs are having a hard time understanding why American tax dollars should go to study the sexual habits of prostitutes halfway around the world.

There's more at the link. To add insult to injury, the study was launched on April 15th - tax day!

You'd think the fact that multiple (and numerous) sex partners, unsafe sex practices, etc. are widespread among these groups would be sufficient explanation. What's left to investigate? Sounds more to me like the researcher plans to do a lot of 'field work', subsidized by the taxpayer! It's a bit like Congressional 'investigations' held in the Caribbean and Hawaii during mid-winter (accompanied by their 'secretaries', of course!).

However, even this pales in comparison to the latest bureaucratic bungle in England. According to the Daily Mail:

It seems obvious that, given the choice, ducks would prefer the weather to be a bit wet.

Nevertheless, the Government felt it was important to make sure exactly what type of water they liked best.

So it spent £300,000 of taxpayers' money to find out - a sum described yesterday as 'a bonkers waste of money'.

The three-year study was carried out to 'ascertain the importance of bathing water to ducks by quantifying their motivation to gain access to water in which they can bathe'.

It concluded that after being offered several different water supplies, ducks preferred standing under a shower - designed to simulate rain - to a dip in a trough or a pond.

. . .

Anthony Rew, the Devon chairman of the National Farmers' Union, accused ministers of being out of touch.

'They need to get out of London and get on a farm to see how the countryside works, to put policies in place that are practical and well costed,' he said.

'They are looking for farmers to help with costs - if they asked a farmer, he would tell them ducks like water.'

Susie Squire, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'It is common sense that ducks like rain and water. It's a bonkers waste of money.

'The last thing the Government should be allocating scarce resources to is this sort of nonsense.

'Defra should take a long look at its use of public money. It should be ashamed.'

Incredibly, there are now plans to extend the research - by Oxford University scientists - to look at how often ducks use the showers.

Again, there's more at the link. (Bold print is my emphasis.)

I think I must write to my Congressional representative and Senators to demand the refund of that portion of my taxes that covers boondoggle expenditures like these. I may not get very far, but if they ask enough rude questions of the entrenched bureaucracies in our government, that might waste enough time to prevent the latter from dreaming up more schemes like these!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

300000 Pounds to study ducks? England really is starting to look like the inmates are running the asylum. (Then again I mean no slight to respectable inmates everywhere)