ALL SEX, ALL THE TIME…. Republicans were apoplectic over a stimulus measure that would have saved money on preventing unwanted pregnancies, so it was removed from the economic recovery plan. Today, GOP lawmakers, proving once again that they take sex really seriously, have found a related spending provision to get excited about.
To be fair, they had some help. Drudge got worked up today with a story about the bill funding the Center for Disease Control, most notably STD education and prevention programs. Soon after, the Republican establishment was on the case.
The NRCC is banging the good old culture wars drum today, sending out a raft of press releases asking if rookie Dems from conservative districts back the inclusion of anti-sexually transmitted disease programs.
The title of the release: Do Freshmen Dems Support $335 Million for STD Prevention in “Stimulus”?
First of all, the money that goes to these programs will mean new jobs. There are the additional people who’ll be needed for administration, of course, as well as additional doctors and researchers. There will also be, to borrow a phrase, a trickle-down effect: Money for vaccinating uninsured children, for instance, means more vaccinations will be produced, which means there’ll be more jobs producing and distributing the vaccines. […]
As for that $335 million for STD prevention, that number sort of pales when you consider the direct medical cost of STDs every year, which one 2000 study found was $6.5 billion. That same study notes that, for HIV patients at least, the government already assumes a large share of the burden; one group of researchers found that 47 percent of people receiving treatment for HIV were covered by Medicare, and 20 percent were uninsured.
Of course, the merit of the argument is secondary. At the end of the day, conservative Republicans just seem to like talking about, complaining about, and campaigning on sex.
Update: Amanda Terkel fact-checks the new complaint in some additional detail. Drudge and the GOP, still wrong.