Jewish World Review Feb. 28, 2002 / 16 Adar, 5762
Waste much, want more
AIDS activists descended on Washington in mid-February to lobby for
more federal dollars to fight one of history's worst plagues. Before
additional funds are committed to this disease, it's fair to ask
whether a lot of the money already being spent is allocated wisely, or
wasted on frivolous and outrageous things that don't enhance our
knowledge and lead to a cure.
Citizens Against Government Waste has compiled a report
(http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer) revealing how millions of mostly
federal dollars that should be going to disease prevention and cure
are instead being squandered on highly questionable programs. The
report notes that:
The federal government currently spends $13 billion a year on
AIDS-related programs, far more than it spends on other diseases from
which more people suffer. In 1996, the National Institutes of Health
spent an average of $1,160 for every heart disease death, $4,700 for
every cancer death, but an incredible $43,000 for every AIDS death,
according to the National Institute of Medicine. It is the political
clout of AIDS activists, along with the fear of opponents who cower at
the label "homophobe'' that accounts for this disparity in research
funding. This is especially frustrating to cancer and heart disease
patients, who see their diseases as mostly unrelated to behavioral
- A $20,000 grant to the Twin State Women's Network (awarded
through the Vermont Department of Public Health) was used for a
weekend retreat featuring such seminars as "Toys 4 Us'' and "Self
Loving/Self Healing: Discussing the Role of Masturbation as a Tool of
Healing.'' TSWN also received $1,500 for long-distance phone calls,
$1,000 for books, including "The New Good Vibrations for Sex''
manual, and $250 for videos, including "Fire in the Valley: A Guide
to Masturbation for Women.'' Participants received welcome bags filled
with mints and chocolate. Each guest room was equipped with welcome
packets containing condoms, lubricants, candles, massage lotion and
lip balm. 86 percent of TSWN funds come from government sources,
including the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The CDC sends $1 million annually to Positive Force, a program
for HIV-positive, gay and bisexual men in San Francisco. Among other
things, Positive Force offers flirting classes.
- A former bookkeeper for Central Florida AIDS Unified Resources
was ordered to pay restitution after spending $600,000 in federal Ryan
White CARE Act money on tickets to Disney World, hotels and
- The New York Post reported last April that New York City was
spending $180,000 a week on emergency housing for indigent HIV/AIDS
patients. "That month, the city had reserved 20 rooms at the Sofitel
Hotel in Midtown Manhattan at $329 apiece,'' the CAGW report states.
"Advocates say the DASIS (Division of AIDS Services and Income
Support) must use the expensive hotels because it has ruined its
relationship with lower-cost hotels by not paying bills on time. New
York City received $52.6 million in Housing Opportunities for People
With AIDS (a HUD program) funding in fiscal 2001.''
Taxpayers have no obligation to fund AID Atlanta, Inc., "which
received more than $3.5 million from the government in fiscal 2000,''
the CAGW reports. AID Atlanta programs include "Deeper Love: A
Workshop for Gay and Bisexual Men of African Descent,'' focusing on
dating, relationships and erotica. Among topics of discussion: "Dirty
talk: what makes it good,'' "The Art of Latex'' and "Safety vs.
Trust.'' The group "also sponsors 'Slipping and Sliding' where men
can explore their needs and desires and learn how to fulfill them,''
the CAGW found.
AIDS activists want more money for this? They shouldn't get it, at
least until the misspending on programs that do little to prevent and
nothing to cure the disease is
JWR contributor Cal Thomas is the author of, among others, The Wit and Wisdom of Cal Thomas Comment by clicking here.
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