Here’s 7 Ridiculous Things Congress Should Defund Instead of Planned Parenthood

Maybe instead of defunding the largest women’s health care provider in the States, we could stop funding … peanuts?

Image via Flickr user Women's eNews

Yesterday, anti-abortion group The Center for Medical Progress released its ninth video, accusing Planned Parenthood of selling intact aborted fetuses that just “fell out of the womb.” And while nearly all of CMP’s claims have been debunked, the videos have had serious, and costly, consequences for the healthcare provider. Earlier this summer, Senate Republicans embarked on a vicious campaign to defund the organization, and Congressional hearings begin next week. Multiple presidential candidates have pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, and state assaults are already well underway.

But many question why Planned Parenthood—the organization allegedly responsible for 11.4 million women’s health services in 2011—is the program being targeted. After all, only 3 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides are (reportedly, controversially) abortions. 35 percent of all services are STI screenings, and another 35 percent involve contraception. 79 percent of the women the organization serves live at the poverty level. Close to a million women every year reportedly receive pap smear and breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. Are there some organizations that might—just might—be more worthy of defunding?

Of course. Here’s a look at seven of them.

Image via Wikimedia

Peanuts. Yes, peanuts. Subsidies to the dairy, peanuts, and sugar industry cost taxpayers close to $2.85 billion a year. But this assistance doesn’t go to mom-and-pop peanut farmers. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, most of the subsidies benefit the wealthiest 1% of farmers.

Direct federal subsidies to corporations. According to The Cato Institute, federal subsidies to corporations cost taxpayers close to $100 billion per year. Among the recipients? Low-income companies like Boeing, Alcoa, and General Motors.

Dead people. Close to 6.5 million people who are over 112-years-old have Social Security numbers and collect payments from the government. Yet, according to The Washington Post, only 35 people worldwide had achieved that age as of October 2013. Logical conclusion: they are vampires.

Image via Wikimedia

Corporate jets. Every year, Congress looks deep into their hearts, and makes the compassionate choice to fund the long-struggling corporate jet industry, costing taxpayers approximately $3 billion per year.

Second Homes. Tax deductions for second homes cost an estimated $8 billion dollars a year. But can Americans really be expected to live on just one home alone? What kind of life is that?

Tax breaks for people who make more than $465,000 per year. Hedge fund managers receive special tax breaks allowing them to pay just a 15% rate, whereas the people who work for them usually pay around 35%. According to the The National Priorities Project, this costs taxpayers more than $83 billion annually, and 68 percent of these managers are in the top 1%, earning more than $462,500 annually.

Image via Wikimedia

Turkey Hunts. During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) spent close to $1.1 million on the all-important “staff party with snacks.” Parties and agency retreats included such critical agenda items as carriage rides, private safari tours, and guided turkey hunts.The Washington Post reports that attendees were also able to use taxpayer money to take Xtreme driving courses.

The first Planned Parenthood hearing begins next week, but at least we can sleep easy tonight, knowing that our turkey hunts have been, and will be, protected.

(h/t The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post)

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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The Planet

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

via Found Animals Foundation / Flickr

Service dogs are true blessings that provide a wide array of services for their owners based on their disability.

They can provide preventative alerts for people with epilepsy and dysautonomia. They can do small household tasks like turning lights on and off or providing stability for their owners while standing or walking.

For those with PTSD they can provide emotional support to help them in triggering situations.

However, there are many people out there who fraudulently claim their pets are service or emotional support animals. These trained animals can cause disturbances in businesses or on public transportation.

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