Your Tax Dollars at Work

In a slowly recovering economy, at a time when we are all watching our spending, we expect the government to do the same thing with our tax dollars. After all, America is facing a projected half-trillion dollar budget deficit. But listen to what our hard-earned tax dollars are funding over at the National Institutes of Health (NIH): $3.2 million over five years will be allocated to a study of prostitution in California that aims to "promote a protective work environment." Come on! Prostitution is illegal in California. This money would be better used in ending prostitution and helping women to find legitimate jobs. Second, the NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development awarded the Kinsey Institute -- yes, that Kinsey -- $147,000 for a study to "assess the . . . arousal of 180 lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual women as they watch erotic video clips." But wait -- there's more. The NIH is spending $3 million of your money to study American Indian and Alaskan native lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and two-spirited individuals. Taxpayers footed the bill for a $26,000 Kinsey Institute conference on sexual arousal. And the NIH is spending $276,000 to study the sexual habits of older men. A House subcommittee wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson asking how this study "will benefit hapless children afflicted with pediatric diseases." It doesn't, and these are just a few of the spurious studies you and I are paying for. "While the NIH can find money to pay women to watch pornography and fund a conference to tell everyone the obvious," said Representative Dr. Dave Weldon of Florida (R), "funding for autism, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's research continues to lag. Clearly the NIH grant-review process is broken, and I'm going to work to fix it." "As a nation seeking to combat an enemy around the world, and dealing with budget deficits and a sluggish economy," writes Congressman Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania (R) in National Review Online, "we must make sure that the limited resources we have are being spent in the most effective way possible." These examples are truly an outrage -- an inexcusable misuse of funds, an offense to any right-thinking citizen. And it's dumb. Funding studies of depravity -- why do that? All you're going to find out is how to increase depravity. Why not fund studies that look at healthy sexuality and find ways to encourage that kind of behavior? Congressman Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.) tried to prevent the NIH from funding four of these frivolous studies, but his amendment was defeated by only two votes. Call us here at BreakPoint (1-877-322-5527) to find out how your representative voted, and let him or her know what you think. (Or visit this page. There's also a spending oversight hearing coming up next week. Call or e-mail your congressman to press the issue of NIH spending. As Congressman Pitts writes, "As a steward of taxpayer resources, the NIH should be held accountable . . . to ensure that its research contributes positively to the life of our nation." Listen, folks: That does not include paying women to watch pornography. Take action: Contact your representative and let him or her know how you feel about his/her vote on the Toomey amendment to the Labor/HHS appropriations bill which would have barred the National Institutes of Health from funding unnecessary studies; and urge your representative to bring up funding and allocation of money for the NIH in the oversight hearing to take place October 2. The Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121. Or find mailing and e-mail addresses at For further reading and information: Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, "NIH Accountability: We're paying for what?" National Review Online, 22 September 2003. Read the list of studies to which the NIH has given grants and how much it has given (provided by the Republican Study Committee). Robert Stacy McCain, "Sex and child health," Washington Times, 19 September 2003. Robert Stacy McCain, "GOP lawmaker balks at Kinsey sex study funding," Washington Times, 8 September 2003. Robert Stacy McCain, "House Republicans balk sex-research funding," Washington Times, 10 July 2003. Robert Stacy McCain, "Lawmakers assail NIH funding for sexual-arousal conference," Washington Times, 23 June 2003. Ted Agres, "Politicizing research or responsible oversight?" The Scientist, 14 July 2003. "Uncover-up: Feds fund study on porn arousal," WorldNetDaily, 23 December 2002. Bill O'Reilly, "The President and sex -- a really big turnoff," New York Daily News, 21 July 2003. BreakPoint Commentary No. 030109, "Star Power and Suffering Children." Mona Charen, "Griping while at the trough," Washington Times, 18 September 2003. Citizens Against Government Waste seeks to "eliminate waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in the federal government." Gina Dalfonzo, "No Harm Done?" BreakPoint Online, 30 September 2002. David Lowenthal, No Liberty for License: The Forgotten Logic of the First Amendment (Spence, 1997).


Chuck Colson


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