5 Useful Ways America Could Spend Its Insane Fireworks Budget

Our one night of celebration could also end veteran homelessness

In June, Information minister Michael Makuei Lueth announced South Sudan will skip the state-sponsored celebrations for the country’s own independence day on July 9, “to spend the little that we have on other issues." Those issues include “soaring inflation,” corruption and the collapse of the country’s oil industry, Al Jazeera reports.

So what about the United States?

It’s unlikely the White House would drop the concert and fireworks from its traditional Fourth festivities for military families. But it’s intriguing to imagine what could happen if the people of the United States spent the estimated $675 million it shells out on fireworks each year a little differently.

 With an extra $675 million in its pocket, the government would be able to pay for about half of the proposed $1.1 billion Zika spending plan to help combat the disease.

 In 2016, more than two-thirds of college students will graduate with debt, TIME reports. The average debt at graduation will be about $35,000. If the U.S. used that $675 million dollars on students vs. fireworks we could pay off the debt of more than 19,000 grads.

 With $675 million, the U.S. could easily cover the $500 million in critical repairs needed at Yosemite National Park.

 All our extra fireworks cash could cover more than one-third of the government’s $1.56 billion budget allocation for assisting refugees resettling in America.

 And with $675 million, the United States could double Obama’s $300 million budget set forth to help end and prevent homelessness for Veterans and their families through the Supportive Services for Veterans Families rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention program.

Sure, a stunning fireworks display is a family-friendly way to show our love of country, but perhaps we the people can re-think our patriotic spending.

via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

Keep Reading Show less

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less