On Hardball while discussing the aid for family planning included in the stimulus package, Chris Matthews says that government support for family planning "sounds like China" to him. Robert Wexler attempts to reason with him and explains that proper funding and education in this area actually increases people's choices and ultimately reduces medical costs. Rough transcript:
Gingrey:...I mean we're throwing away, gosh I think that there's two hundred million dollars in there for family planning and contraceptives. Now indeed that may stimulate something but I don't think it's going to stimulate the economy.
Matthews: Well Congressman Wexler why isn't it just, why isn't it just what we thought it was going to be...infrastructure, roads, bridges, stuff that everybody agrees on needs to be fixed and creates real jobs for real people that pay decent salaries. Why don't we spend all the money on that stuff that people can see rather than all these odds and ends and cats and dogs? I mean the bill has so much in it you think it's just a shopping list of the Democratic party. That's what it looks like.
Wexler: No. No.
Matthews: Everybody that wants something has something in here.
Wexler: No what the Obama administration is arguing, and I believe they're correct is that three quarters of the money spent in this stimulus package will be out into the economy in eighteen months and I realize it's easy to find one item or this item but even, let's talk about that family planning. Family planning saves if done correctly an enormous sum of money down the road in the health care system. But back to your original point. Most of the money goes to building roads, bridges, infrastructure projects like my friend Mr. Gingrey said. As the states will have designed them and local governments as well will have designated them.
Also in terms of building schools. We desperately need to upgrade our education systems. We have enormous amount of resources devoted towards construction projects and public education as we do in terms of alternative energy sources. We are going to invest enormous sums of money in creating green jobs which have the benefit of employment increases as well as leaving our dependence on foreign oil. This is exactly what the country needs combined with three hundred billion dollars plus of tax cuts which affect ninety five percent positively of the American family base.
Matthews: I don't know. It sounds a little like China. I, Congressman Gingrey I think everybody should have family planning. Everybody believes in birth control as a right. I'm for abortion as a right and all that. It's all right. But why should the federal government have a policy of reducing the number of births? I don't know why the federal government has an interest in that. They have an interest in freedom and people making choices but I just heard a case made by Congressman Wexler that it was in the national interest to have fewer kids. I don't understand that. (crosstalk) What did you mean by that? What did you mean by that? Why is it an economic stimulus...why are we talking about family planning as an economic stimulus program...(crosstalk).
Wexler: Chris you are right family planning is a personal choice and in order to make personal choices people need to have both education and resources. And when they lack an education or know how or resources in effect then they're choice is negated. And in terms from an economic analysis to give people choices that in some instances based on personal choice will reduce health care costs in the future, that of course then reduces the burden on federal tax payers. This is not a new concept. This is what we run the government on. If we can reduce Medicaid expenditures by giving people more knowledge and choice and resources I think most people regardless of their ideology would say that's a good economic decision.