We continue to hear the federal government needs to tax more and the rich need to pay more. But the Treasury Department’s most recent monthly receipts data show that in the first five months of Fiscal Year 2014, federal tax revenues have hit a record high at close to $1.1 trillion — yet America is still running a $377 billion deficit for the same period. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn will soon be retiring and I suppose so will his annual “Government Wastebook” highlighting the horrific instances of wasteful government spending. Therefore I am happy to take up the mantle of presenting another example of wasteful government spending.
Eric Scheiner at CNSNews.com reports that “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending $398,213 on a project studying whether paying male Mexican sex workers for being free of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) will increase condom use. The study, “Conditional Economic Incentives to Reduce HIV Risks: A Pilot in Mexico,” began in June 2011 and is funded through the end of May 2014.”
Here’s how the “study” works. Male sex workers in Mexico City must first attend a workshop on the benefits of condom use and “condom negotiation” before they are broken up into smaller groups. One group of 100 will receive a low incentive ($200 pesos/each time) if they are free of STDs at months 6 and 12. A second group of 100 will receive high incentives ($500 pesos/each time) if they are free of STDs at months 6 and 12. The control group of 100 gets nada regardless if they are STD-free or not.
When questioned about the goals of the study, NIH replied, “Only by developing effective prevention and treatment strategies for health-injuring behaviors can we reduce the disease burden in the U.S. and thus, enhance health and lengthen life, which is the mission of the NIH.”
Okaaaay, so if this study examined sex workers in America maybe I could understand, but Mexican male prostitutes? In Mexico City? Are we also advertising for them to go on food stamps and sign up for Obamacare? Some might say, eh, its just $400,000 out of a federal budget of nearly $3 trillion, so who cares? But struggling middle income American families care. Anyone who believes in government fiscal responsibility cares.
This is why we need a balanced budget amendment for the federal government – which by the way I voted for while in Congress. Who reviews the budget requests for these agencies? Who looked at this study and said, “Oh, this is a great idea, I approve spending American taxpayer dollars on Mexican male sex workers?”
The Project Leader of the study, Dr. Omar Galarraga of Brown University, refused to respond to inquiry — typical. But Galarraga has been quoted as saying, “We’re trying to prevent HIV from spreading and we are trying to save money.”
Save whose money Dr. Galarraga? I think you’ve got a hard case to make with the American taxpayer about your methodology. It seems the good doctor is trying to validate the conservative principle of individual responsibility. In our Republic individuals are guaranteed liberty, but they are responsible for their behaviors and risky practices.
I don’t believe any amount of government money can promote or reinforce that premise. Hate to remind liberal progressives that values are learned at home — especially a home with a strong, prosperous, and loving family — not from government studies and indoctrination.