Monday, May 27, 2013

Charles Parker: Checkbook Diplomacy Needs To Be Stopped

I saw a story from “Stars and Stripes” today about the disrepair that many of our national memorials are facing.  The lead went as follows:

“HONOLULU -- On the shoreline of Hawaii's most famous beach, a decaying structure attracts little attention from wandering tourists.

A few glance curiously at the crumbling Waikiki Natatorium, a salt water pool built in 1927 as a memorial to the 10,000 soldiers from Hawaii who served in World War I. But the monument's walls are caked with salt and rust, and passers-by are quickly diverted by the lure of sand and waves.

The faded structure has been closed to the public for decades, the object of seemingly endless debate over whether it should be demolished or restored to its former glory. The latest plan is to replace it with a beach, more practical for the state's lucrative tourism industry - and millions of dollars cheaper, according to state and local officials. They say a full restoration could cost nearly $70 million.”

Coincidentally, the other night, I was reviewing a government website called to see where the Obama administration and his agencies are spending taxpayer’s money these days.

Since there are dozens of agencies, I just focused on “Education.”  In 30 minutes, I found over $320 million being spent on education initiatives in Pakistan, Lebanon, and Egypt.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  I got disgusted and quit researching.

A typical example:  $160 million to address “the need to enhance the reading capacity of Pakistani children to read.  The objective of this program is 2.5 million additional primary school student reading at a level commensurate with standards at their grade level.”  (The grammatical errors in this sentence are theirs, not mine.)

Another example: “The USAID West Bank and Gaza youth program ‘Partnerships for Youth’ is a 5-year, $16 million program. This program will fulfill the Mission’s overall objective for youth development: ‘Youth with increased opportunities to realize their potential to effectively contribute to social and economic development in a stable and prosperous Palestinian state.’  The primary objective of this program is to expand educational and leadership opportunities for youth ages 14-29 throughout the West ank by creating sustainable hubs for youth innovation and learning.”
Now I’m not sure whether we should spend $70 million to renovate a WWI memorial in Hawaii, but I do know that Chicago youths are killing each other, Detroit is bankrupt, bridges are collapsing, and we are in a serious national debt crisis.

Helping Pakistani children to read, teaching Palestinians to be leaders, and all of this other nonsense should be de-funded until we get our own fiscal house in order.  Checkbook diplomacy is a tool of the past…and Congress and the President need to stop it.






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