An example of House Republican tax spending priorities.

Here’s something that’ll probably leave our overseas SEB regulars scratching their heads in confusion. It’s a revelation on the tax spending priorities of the Republicans in the House of Representatives. See if you can explain this to me:

First the House Passes Bill To Defund Planned Parenthood:

Pence hailed the passage of the bill in a statement, calling it “a victory for taxpayers and a victory for life. By banning federal funding to Planned Parenthood, Congress has taken a stand for millions of Americans who believe their tax dollars should not be used to subsidize the largest abortion provider in America.”

He continued: “I commend my colleagues in both parties for taking a stand for taxpayers and a stand for life. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to support this legislation and end federal funding of Planned Parenthood once and for all.”

Now keep in mind the following facts:

  1. Abortions are less than 3 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides to five million people who seek out PP annually.
  2. By law, none of the $335 million in federal money is used for the abortion services Planned Parenthood provides.
  3. Several of the other services PP offers which are funded by taxpayer dollars — comprehensive birth control, sex education, and family planning — are there specifically to reduce the need for abortions.

That’s about one-third of PP’s budget Republicans want to eliminate even though none of it is used for abortion, which is the argument they’re using to justify the cut. Planned Parenthood isn’t just an abortion provider and abortions are a small percentage of what they do yet the House Republicans would trash all of it because they don’t like one small part of it.

Now contrast that to their vote on taxpayer money being used to sponsor a race car in NASCAR:

WASHINGTON (AP) – The House has voted to let the Pentagon continue using taxpayer dollars to sponsor NASCAR race teams.

By a 281-148 vote, lawmakers rejected an effort by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum that would have ended the practice. McCollum aides said the Army is spending $7 million on a sponsorship this year, and the Air Force and National Guard are spending additional money.

The money is used to put promotional decals on cars in hopes of attracting recruits. The Navy and Marine Corps also used to spend taxpayer money to sponsor cars, but stopped after they couldn’t determine if it actually helped recruitment efforts.

Now I’ll grant you that the 7 to 10 million being spent on NASCAR sponsorships is but a fraction of what the government gives to Planned Parenthood, but apparently the House Republicans (and some Democrats) feel that having military logos on a race car is more important than providing much needed reproductive health services to women. Got that? Planned Parenthood = Bad use of taxpayer money. NASCAR = Good use of taxpayer money.

But what’s even more insane that that is the fact that Rep. Betty McCollum received death threats over her proposal to stop the Pentagon from sponsoring race cars:

“Yo, Slut Betty,” the fax, which arrived at McCollum’s DC office Thursday morning, reads. “Shut Your Phucking Pie Hole!”

The fax then goes on to say that “without exception, Marxists are enemies of the Constitution” and “Death To All Marxists, Foreign And Domestic!”

Read the threatening fax, obtained exclusively by TPM, here. Warning: document contains extremely offensive language.

[...] Since announcing the proposal, McCollum’s office has received more than a few calls from irate NASCAR fans upset at what they perceive as a slight against their sport.

“We’ve had calls,” Bill Harper, McCollum’s Chief of Staff, told TPM. “Lots of Mississippi people, North Carolina people. We had a Florida person.”

Asked what the callers say, Harper replied, “‘Get your hands off my NASCAR’, mostly.”

What the fuck is wrong with you people? Do you seriously think that NASCAR needs government sponsorship in order to survive? It’s not like they’re hurting for sponsorships:

NASCAR has finalized eight of 12 renewals and added two new partners, a combination that increases its total annual sponsorship revenue by 10 percent in 2011.

The sanctioning body has renewed two-thirds of the sponsorship deals due to elapse this year, signing renewals with Toyota, GM, Dodge, Unilever and DirecTV. Three other extensions are agreed to and currently being finalized, said Jim O’Connell, NASCAR vice president of corporate marketing.

[...] The sanctioning body added partnerships with Drive 4COPD, a national public health campaign, and Growth Energy, an American ethanol interest group. NASCAR’s marketing partnerships generally range from $2 million to $10 million a year.

“For any property to be up 10 percent given the economy and tight corporate budgets shows there’s still a lot of value there,” O’Connell said. “We’ve done a good job of finding new categories, and that’s helped.”

Given the above, which is a news item from December 2010 on NASCAR’s official website, I think they would survive the loss of the Pentagon sponsorship without too much trouble, but for some reason there’s a lot of NASCAR fans who seem to think losing that one sponsor is horrible enough to call in and complain and/or make death threats. Planned Parenthood would also likely survive the loss of government funds, but it would have a major impact on their ability to provide the services so many people rely on.

How fucked up do our priorities, as a nation, have to be that we’re all for taxpayer money going to a sport that doesn’t really need any help but fuck those assholes who provide needed reproductive healthcare services? Do you really think stopping NASCAR from getting taxpayer money is really worth issuing death threats over? Did your parents drop you on your pointy head too many times as a baby?

The only bright side to all of this is that the bill to revoke funding from Planned Parenthood will probably die in the Senate. I say probably because with this Congress you can’t rule out anything as being too stupid to pass. If you’d like to show your support for Planned Parenthood, you can sign a petition here.

Hat tip to Slog and the SEB regular who suggested it.

3 comments

  1. So basically the newly elected legislature, who promised so much to get elected, has decided that birth control, sex education, and family planning are bad for the American public. But car racing is good! Ummm… okay?!?!

    While I realize that there is a strong anti-abortion sentiment in this country, I would think that services to prevent the unwanted pregnancies in the first place would be supported and encouraged. Unless, of course, those who support this legislation intend to increase funding for social service programs to provide for the babies that may result. Yeah, right!

    And we elected these idiots!

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