Chris Brown's Stimulus Connection

Posted: Feb 09, 2009 9:13 AM
The news that R&B singer Chris Brown assaulted a woman last night will provoke a a tide of attention toward domestic abuse issues. The victim, thought to be Brown's longtime girlfriend and R&B singer Rihanna, had visible injuries, according to police reports. Both Brown and Rihanna cancelled their scheduled appearances at the Grammy Awards last night. Brown is currently out on $50,000 bail while Rihanna's publicist put out a statement saying she was in a car accident.

While American Idol alum Jennifer Hudson stole the show with an emotional performance -- one of her first since her mother, brother and nephew were brutally murdered -- the shadow of Brown and Rihanna's absence was palpable.

Believe it or not, even this situation relates to the economic stimulus package. The  legislation currently includes $300 million towards domestic violence programs, though this money could still be cut out.

A high profile situation can bring attention to less publicized aspects of the package. The question is, however, will this $300 million stimulate the economy?

The National Network to End Domestic Violence said the bill "provides essential funding to hire and train more victim service advocates as well as build safe and affordable housing...provid[ing] long-term, sustainable growth to the economy through job creation but also encourage economic self-sufficiency for domestic violence victims."

Every group can find a way to detail why their funding will stimulate the economy but at this point, the bill must include only the essentials if the American people are going to buy it. I did not locate reports on whether or not domestic violence funding was stripped in the Senate compromise but it likely still exists in the House bill. A final bill is expected to weigh in at $820 billion.