March 22, 2011

At the Brink of Insolvency, U.S. Must Defund Planned Parenthood

I was pleased to add my signature to this letter to Congress yesterday from Americans for Tax Reform and 28 other fiscally conservative organizations.
Dear Member of Congress,
On behalf of the millions of fiscal conservatives and libertarians represented by our organizations we write today to strongly urge Congress to eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood. This as a fiscal issue with symbolic resonance; it is illustrative of the broader problem of federal sponsorship of activities that are better undertaken by the private sector, and which interfere unnecessarily in the lives of Americans who have diverse viewpoints. If at least Planned Parenthood funding cannot be cut at a time the United States stands at the brink of insolvency, then there is little hope for fiscal restraint to ever be regained in the federal government.

Over the past two years, domestic discretionary spending has exploded by 84 percent. This increase, due largely to spending under the guise of economic "stimulus," is only the tip of the iceberg -- the President’s latest budget plan calls for spending to average almost 23 percent of GDP, a share of the economy almost three percent higher than the historical average. What’s worse, the President hopes to make this government bloat permanent; Obama has proposed "freezing" discretionary spending at its current levels, a move that would increase spending to over $4 trillion in 2016 and put taxpayers on the hook for almost $9 trillion in new spending over the next decade.

The time to get serious about spending is right now, and every avenue must be immediately attacked in order to curb our destructive spiral of spending. No program or department can be off limits.

On economic merit alone, Planned Parenthood should be near the top of the cut list. To begin with, as Chuck Donovan at the Heritage Foundation has pointed out, Planned Parenthood is awash in net income. From 2002 to 2007, the national organization and its affiliates took in $388 million more than they spent on programs and services. Even in the midst of the recession, the president of the organization still received more than $337,000 in an annual salary and tens of thousands more in benefits and allowances. Planned Parenthood is receiving a rolling, annual bailout -- and they don’t even need it.

When the House of Representatives voted two weeks ago to end federal grants and contracts for Planned Parenthood, it did so alongside eliminations for other pet projects, such as military contracts, signaling the sanctimony preserved for institutions revered on both sides of the aisle is coming to a close. It was deciding that American taxpayers should not be on the hook for unnecessary and controversial funding at a time when they simply cannot live with any more spending.

The federal budget is out of control, and if we cannot at least eliminate funding for an enormously wealthy, controversial nonprofit like Planned Parenthood our movement to significantly cut the federal budget to sustainable levels will be dead in the water.
American taxpayers cannot afford to be the unwitting benefactors of endless bailouts, and the Pence Amendment is not just another social-issue skirmish. It is a test of economic and budgetary seriousness. Planned Parenthood must be privatized.

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