Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Thinking Through Some False Assumptions

Tonight I was coming home listening to my customary 25 minutes of drive time radio.  I listened to Janet Parshall and at one point said, Let me turn over to NPR and see if they are talking about Trump.

At first I thought, they aren't.  It was an African woman in Nairobi talking about how she has trouble getting her condoms.  Because of Trump.

That beats all.  He's been in office ten days and the supply of condoms in Kenya has been cut off.  Now, that is power!

OK, forgive the snarky.  I realize this poor woman is probably married and already has a number of children and wants to practice family planning.  Of course she should.  And she should get them from the health clinic.

But . . .

at what point in time did it become the responsibility of the United States government to supply her condoms?  Why doesn't Kenya's government?

Oh, they are too poor, you say.  Really?  Why are they poor?  Too poor to help with health needs as small as condoms?  Apparently yes, and food insecurity is real there.  Why?  Is  corruption possibly to blame?  Corruption that took American funds and funneled into something else, like limousines for government officials?

Now, I am playing devil's advocate here, and I do believe the developed world has a responsibility to the developing world.  You can judge me, but I dare you to look at my checkbook compared to someone who can cry and moan about poor people in Africa.  Talk is cheap, but I prefer to help NGOs that get the money straight to the people instead of toxic charity government programs that do not work.  How much money has our government plowed into Africa and these problems continue?  We have created a dependency.

But my real point is to question the assumption that every need is to be filled by the government.  That's just scary. I hear it all the time in higher education.  The problem is, it's never enough, and bureaucracies can be incredibly creative about finding ways to waste money.

I doubt anyone reads these rants, but I hope it makes someone think. 

Addendum on Feb. 4:  Ah!  In a news report today, NPR admitted to corruption in Kenya, although it was about police shaking down bus drivers.  

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