With staggeringly bizarre logic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went on with George Stephanopoulus to defend her inclusion of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars toward family planning services. Her reasoning :
PELOSI: Well, the family-planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now, and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those—one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?
PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.
But that’s not even the whole of it. Let’s look at what she continued to say in that same response:
PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy. Food stamps, unemployment insurance, some of the initiatives you just mentioned. What the economists have told us from right to left: There is more bang for the buck, a term they use, by investing in food stamps and in unemployment insurance than in any tax cut.
Let’s take on the federal stimulus funds for contraception. I’m not against contraception at all, but I don’t think taxpayer money supporting it is necessarily a good idea. However, the economic argument made in favor of it here is just plain retarded. At best, you could somehow reason that decreased pregnancies and subsequent births would, eventually a few years down the road, lead to less children to siphon off tax dollars from social spending programs. But to think that this would have any sort of immediate economic impact, as this bill is supposedly designed to provide, is ridiculous.
And even that argument is blown out of the water when you consider Pelosi’s next statement that more social spending is better than tax cuts, so there go those potential savings from contraception, eh, Nancy? Plus, I’d really like to see the economic data supporting the notion that “investing” in food stamps and unemployment is more financially helpful to the entire nation than tax cuts. And just as a note, you don’t “invest” in food stamps, you give them away to needy families and individuals. Education and employment training are investments toward a future payoff; unemployment dollars are not.
Let’s call this for what it is: an attempt to fulfull an ideological agenda by cloaking it in fears of the moment. Our tax dollars are more likely to be wasted on idiotic initiatives like this than to actually help the economy. My faith in this so-called stimulus bill is dropping by the day, as is my already subterranean respect for this Congress.
Update: President Obama has personally appealed that the family planning funds be dropped from the stimulus bill. It was an absolutely dumb addition, and I say good for him, though I’m still not sold on the entire package. Obama, it seems, is trying to reach out to Congressional Republicans to draw on some bipartisan support. A few days and a far cry from the “I won” rhetoric designed to cow Republican opposition. I guess bipartisanship really is needed after all, eh?
Of course, this might leave Pelosi with some egg on her face as the new President slaps her down in favor of the opposition. Is this going to sit well with the more experienced Congressional leadership? We’ll see.