GOOD

10 Reasons The Military Can Afford Transgender Servicepeople

Trump says transgender servicepeople cause “tremendous medical costs.”

Kristen Beck (left) is the first Navy Seal to come out as transgender. Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted he will reverse an Obama-era policy that allowed transgender people to serve in the military. According to his tweets, Trump believes transgender people should not serve “in any capacity” because of the “tremendous medical costs” associated with transgender military personnel.


\n
\n
\n

But Trump’s rationale completely contradicts a 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Department of Defense (DOD). The study concluded that transgender people would have “minimal impact” on readiness or health care costs. Transgender people make up a relatively small portion of military personnel. Estimates show they represent between 1,320 to 6,630 members of a 1.3 million-member force.

When it comes to medical needs unique to the transgender community, the study estimates there will be 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year with 25 to 130 gender confirmation-related surgeries among active service members. This could cost the DOD between $2.4 to $8.4 million annually. In 2014, the DOD’s health care expenses were $49.3 billion.

Trump states the reason transgender people should not serve “in any capacity” is because of $8.4 million in additional expenditures while the national security state costs American taxpayers over $1 trillion a year. Surely, the government could find an extra couple million somewhere in the budget to allow transgender people to serve. So maybe there is another reason why Trump and his administration don’t want transgender people to serve? Could it be that Trump is creating a wedge issue that will help galvanize support among social conservatives in the 2018 and 2020 elections?

Here are 10 ways the military has no problem spending taxpayer money while claiming that transgender service people are too expensive.

— $8.5 trillion in U.S. military spending is unaccounted for.

Due to the military’s convoluted bookkeeping systems, trillions in taxpayer dollars allocated by Congress since 1996 has never been accounted for.

— $1 trillion is spent on the national security state.

Between the Pentagon, war budget, developing and maintaining nuclear warheads, homeland security, military aid, intelligence, veterans benefits, and the defense’s share of interest on the debt, taxpayers pay $1.09 trillion annually.

— $406 billion is the cost for the F-35s and other fighter aircraft plus facilities.

Even Trump has criticized the Pentagon for the rising costs of producing over 2,400 fighter jets.

— $125 billion goes to Pentagon waste.

The Pentagon buried a study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget.

— $54 billion sought for increased military spending.

Trump has asked for a huge spending increase for 2018 but won’t ask for an extra $8.4 million for transgender servicepeople.

— $18 billion went to the future combat system.

According to defense industry consultant Loren Thompson, the American taxpayer got “nothing out of” this now-defunct program to build a brigade’s worth of high-tech equipment.

— $8 billion was dropped on the Comanche helicopter.

A lot of money was spent between 1983 and 2004, but not a single operational aircraft was ever produced.

— $2 billion is used by unnecessary bases.

The military has requested permission to launch another round of base closures, but Congress won’t allow it.

— $80 million has been spent on an “Iron Man” suit.
The DOD is pouring millions into a wearable weapon it calls the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS), otherwise known as the “Iron Man” suit.

— $28 million has gone toward Afghan army uniforms.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has criticized Pentagon officials for spending millions on uniforms for the Afghan Army featuring lush, forest-designed camouflage.

Articles
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet