Friday, January 30, 2009

1/2 Full or 1/2 Empty?

I’ve been cautiously optimistic about the new Obama administration. While he wasn’t my first pick in the Democratic primary, I’m relieved to both have Dubya out of the White House and to have a Democratic president.

So this pains me to write: Obama dropped the ball in the stimulus package. For all of his promises of “bringing people together” and removing pork (no earmarks!), the bill has effectively turned into a Kitchen Sink bill. Every Democratic pet cause has been thrown into this puppy.

And the only thing that has been thrown out? Family planning funding.

While I tend to agree that money towards family planning is not going to provide short term stimulus to the economy, I don’t think funding to the National Endowment for the Arts or the Teacher Incentive Fund do either. Also, let me point out that a chunk of the funds are for so-called “shovel ready” projects, which will primarily benefit blue collar men.

I can be a political pragmatist. I understand the need for compromise to bridge divides and bring consensus. However, what did President Obama receive for yielding to the conservative pressure to remove family planning from the bill? Not one single Republican vote. Why do women have to be sacrificed for the illusion of post-partisanship?

(See also, Ellen Goodman's piece in the Boston Globe today: The endless game of family planning ping-pong).

1 comment:

alden said...

the biggest problem with the stimulus bill is that as it stands, it's not nearly large enough. predictions average out to about a $2 trillion drop in economic production, meaning that an injection of less than half that size by the gummint is insufficient. i do agree, though, that "compromise" is a farce at this point. why "compromise" with a party with no useful input on any question, with no remaining political capital, that's on track to be nothing but a fringe party of the south in less than ten years?

i would also suggest that the "shovel ready" projects are in fact useful to everyone, even if they aren't useful to everyone identically. new orleans, for instance, could use more than a few shovels, to the benfit of not just the people digging with them.

ps. clinton? really?

also you make comments so complicated! logging in, word verification, blood samples. . .