Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Demand Results

Paul Wolfowitz says that he will be demanding tangible results from World Bank anti-poverty programs. Fair enough. I suppose that if a thing isn't working, best to find out about it and try something else. Possibly even a counter-intuitive approach. To me, giving money to poor nations is sort of like a fat person not eating fatty foods in an effort to lose weight. Both approaches make sense rhetorically. If a nation has no money, give them some. If a person doesn't want to "be" fat, he shouldn't "eat" fat. But other variables, like that corrupt government or all that sugar-loaded pop you're drinking, always end up upsetting all your best laid plans. In the end, the solution isn't as simple as it first appears. So sure, Paul, I'm on board with your idea. Demand results.

My only issue with this, however, is how poverty almost always seems to bring out the conservative in a guy. Demand results from anti-poverty programs, demand results from inner city schools, demand results from Head Start programs, demand accountability and oversight for Katrina funds. Again, I'm not arguing with any of these efforts to make sure money is spent wisely. I'd argue that's the U.S. Congress's only real job. Funny though, how you never hear the call to demand results (on a macro level) from agricultural subsidies, from corporate welfare, from laws easing pollution restrictions, from wars in Iraq. Why does it seem that conservatives care more about the 10 dollars going to the lady in the nursing home, but could care less about the 10 million being overcharged to the US by contractors in the Middle East?

This blog is based on a true story.