Tuesday, February 10, 2009

you know what? i like pork. pork is delicious.

Well, it doesn't have the glitz of people hurling insults at each other in an election season, but the stimulus bill has at least generated some conversation. Whether it's because of an actual attempt towards bipartisanship or because we need a handful of Republican votes in the Senate, what would have been a pretty awesome piece of legislation has watered down because of accusations of too much pork.

For example, family planning. One of the provisions in the House version of the stimulus bill was for the expansion of Medicaid for birth control.

Medicaid is already the single largest source of public funding for family planning nationwide, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The stimulus provision would have made it easier for states to cover family planning for low-income women who currently make slightly too much to qualify for regular Medicaid.

Seems pretty striaght forward to me, but is it stimulus?

The birth control expansion would simply have simply made it easier for states to relax the eligibility criteria to cover more women. Providing more services, to more people, with more money supplied by the federal government is textbook economic stimulus.

Then why haven't we heard about this wonderful textbook economic stimulus that is going to help more people? Oh, we have. My apologies for linking to the admittedly politically biased Daily Kos, but it's the first hit after four pages of sifting through Google News results that didn't refer to this provision as "giving out free condoms." Oh, what's that? You have heard about the cutting of the free condoms from the stimulus bill and that's all you heard about it? Must be that liberal media.

Of course, health care and family planning aren't the only "pet projects" that have been stripped from the House's version of the bill. There are also frivolities like...oh, I don't know...let's say education? Good thing we took care of that:

Gone entirely is funding for higher education construction, which, under the House-passed version, could have meant up to $242 million for the University at Buffalo.

Silly job-creating, education-friendly construction has no place in a serious bill aimed at helping Americans. Especially when it's aimed at an area that was in a bad economic way even before the sky started falling.

Similarly, the Senate eliminated funding for school construction. The House bill would have provided $31.9 million for the district of Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo.

Oh, and who needs schools?

For the love of all things holy, the Democrats need spines now more than ever. "Hey, jerk, you don't get to cut health care and education...especially health care and education that will help the economy." No one?

"Hey jerk, you don't get to frame an entire bill aimed at doing something to get us out of the mess that your side created as 'free condoms for deadbeats.' Oh, and while we're at it, come with something stronger than 'tax cuts' or please just shut up and vote for the nice, helpful stimulus bill." Anyone at all on the Democratic side?

No? Crap.

So this thing might not work like it's supposed to. And it will be the fault of the Republicans who led the charge to make sure it didn't. And in 2010, when people go to vote, will they remember that? Nope. By then this whole thing will have been framed as the first major failure of a President Obama who went unchecked by the Democratic Congress. I think I'm going to be sick now.

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