Good Money After Bad?

Would you give money to Tony Soprano (search) if he promised to take the dough and feed a starving child? Of course not — unless he had a baseball bat, then you might consider it.

Then why is the world so hell-bent on giving money to a lot of corrupt Tony Sopranos who run a lot of corrupt African nations?

Guilt, I guess. The plight of millions of starving people is tragic. But you know what? Sending good money after bad with no accountability is even more tragic.

I know rock stars like Bono (search) think the rich G-8 nations (search) owe it to the poorer ones to help out. He's right. But only if the rich nations can prove the money they're giving is going to the millions of people who are starving.

Money literally disappeared going to Mozambique and Botswana and Namibia. I'm talking billions and I'm talking gone.

Sound familiar? It should. We did the same damn thing in Latin America a quarter century ago: More than $200 billion to then impoverished nations like Colombia and Peru and Argentina. We thought we were helping the impoverished, but only enriching the corrupt.

It's a tune a rock star will never sing. But it's a tune we all ought to hear.

We should save the world. But first, we should make sure we're saving the folks who need to be saved in this world.

There's only one thing worse than writing a blank check: Doing it with a blank brain as well.

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