Senegal Statue Sparks Protest, But $133 Million for Building is O.K.?

An article today in NPR discusses the Statue in Africa that has sparked protest and has been labeled by critics to be a “multimillion-dollar presidential indulgence.”  While no stance is taken in the article, it seems to suggest the money was poorly spent by President Wade.  The title, For Many in Senegal, Statue is a Monumental Failure – seems to set a tone.

The admittedly unattractive statue placed in the city’s Capitol by Senegal’s President cost the people $27 million.  I would have to agree that it was a tremendous waste of money and people should be angry, including those at NPR.  However, it seems appropriate to point out that I haven’t heard many complaints from NPR when the same thing is done here in America.  The conservative estimate of unemployment is around 10% and our economy is clearly not doing well.  Yet the Federal Government just spent $133 million to give a Federal Building in Portland a “makeover”.  Where is the outcry?

Politicians like to leave legacies.  Most of them even want to be remembered for doing something good for the people.  President Wade figured he would bring tourism dollars to the country by erecting this statue.  In fact he hopes it will rival the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower as a destination hot spot.  But isn’t that similar to what many politicians in the U.S. do?  What about the $155 million spent on an “Earthpark” in Iowa?  Or the “Bridge to Nowhere” that would have received $320 million if it wasn’t for protests by taxpayers?

And what about the $100-$300 million dollar bribe Mary Landrieu accepted in exchange for her vote on the health care bill? She wouldn’t have normally voted for it, but because it rewarded her state when she did something against her judgment, it was well worth it.  Wouldn’t that be considered looking out for yourself (wanting to be re-elected) rather than the interests of the taxpayers?

I am all for pointing out when taxpayer dollars are squandered by politicians, but let’s make it fair.  If we’re going to complain about an African Presidents actions, then we can also pay attention to the actions of our own politicians, and point out when they waste our hard-earned tax dollars.  Such as giving President Wade in Senegal a $540 million dollar grant to reward and encourage “good governance.”  I think that deserves some complaints.  Wouldn’t you agree NPR?