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Jan 06 2014

We’ve spent how much on WHAT???

If the Republicans are going to complain about big government and waste, how about starting here?

Since 1996, the federal government has spent more than $1.75 billion on abstinence-only sexual education programs — programs that teach public school students about sex through a religious filter, and fail to instruct them how to effectively prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies. 

That’s Billion with a B. For a definitively failed program.

Follow the link and tell your congressvermin to end this nonsense now.

57 comments

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  1. 1
    Inaji

    more than $1.75 billion on abstinence-only sexual education programs

    So, more than 1.75 billion dollars on absolutely nothing. Brilliant.

  2. 2
    raven

    It’s not even their biggest waste.

    The US government spends $2 billion a year on “faith based initiatives”. Whatever those are.

    AFAICT, no one knows where that money given to the churches goes. Or cares. I’m sure much of it is just skimmed off by them into their own bank accounts.

  3. 3
    moarscienceplz

    But sex is so icky! We’ve got to be sure to tell that to all the kids so they will feel dirty and shameful and will have to go to church to wash away [some] of the shameful feelings. How else can we have a nice healthy society?

  4. 4
    timgueguen

    Not nothing, Caine. Rather they’ve spent a bunch of money ensuring a bunch of teenagers will get pregnant, for reasons known only to them.

  5. 5
    Inaji

    Tim:

    Rather they’ve spent a bunch of money ensuring a bunch of teenagers will get pregnant

    Yes, that, along with making sure a healthy number of young women will die in their attempt to abort, and of course, passing along diseases. They must ensure those young women don’t get all uppity!

  6. 6
    jamessweet

    Caine, abstinence-based education programs are actually very slightly worse than nothing.

    I gotta say, I’m sorta shocked. If that number is correct, that comes out to like $100 million/yr. That… That’s not pocket change. If it was like $2 million/yr, I probably wouldn’t be offended by the cash outlay (I’d still be offended by it being a worse-than-useless program, but there’s no point in getting upset about $2 million/yr across the whole nation… if I drop a quarter on the ground, that’s not going to change my mortgage status, y’know?) But $100 million/yr, that’s non-trivial. Blargh..

  7. 7
    Moggie

    But it’s not a failed program! It’s resulted in a lot of slutty sluts getting pregnant or infected, instead of learning how to slut safely! That’s actually a good thing… if you look at it from the perspective of a horrible human being.

  8. 8
    Jim Phynn

    While it has been a waste of money, discontinuing it won’t resolve any budget issues. That works out to about a quarter per person per year.

  9. 9
    tsig

    Yeh but a billion here and a billion there adds up to real money.

  10. 10
    Inaji

    Jim Phynn:

    While it has been a waste of money, discontinuing it won’t resolve any budget issues. That works out to about a quarter per person per year.

    Think of all the good which could have resulted if that more than 1.75 billion had been spent on social safety nets, eh?

  11. 11
    robro

    raven @#2

    …I’m sure much of it is just skimmed off by them into their own bank accounts.

    Not skimmed, “salaries”…right!? Everybody in the family and maybe some “friends” of the church are on the payroll. And then some incidental expenses for the facilities, or maybe a new car for the program director. Useful stuff like that.

  12. 12
    PDX_Greg

    Even the sanctimonious creeps that wrote the bible were unable to abstain from constantly obsessing about it.

  13. 13
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Caine:

    Think of all the good which could have resulted if that more than 1.75 billion had been spent on social safety nets, eh?

    That was my first thought on reading this post. How many people could have benefitted from such money if it was invested in assistance programs? How many lives could have been made that much better?

  14. 14
    Jacob Schmidt

    Tony!

    How many people could have benefitted from such money if it was invested in assistance programs?

    How many abortions could have been made unnecessary if that money had been used to fund comprehensive sex ed?

    To me, that’s the most galling thing: that this money was used to keep people ignorant, making the problem it ostensibly addresses worse.

  15. 15
    changerofbits

    $1.75 Billion spent on ignorance. *spits*

  16. 16
    csue

    Am I the *only* one here who notices that the “flame” over CFI’s letter I in their logo looks like a sperm? How appropriate! #mindinthegutterasusual

  17. 17
    chigau (違う)

    csue #16

    Am I the *only* one

    Yes.

  18. 18
    jaybee

    How about National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAAM), started by Tom Harkin to promote bee pollen for treating allergies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Center_for_Complementary_and_Alternative_Medicine

    At first they attempted to be rigorous by using double blind, randomized trials, but Harkin thrashed them for being too thorough as it wasn’t demonstrating what he just knew was true.

    Now, 20 years into this project, billions have been spent and none of the alternatives have been better than a placebo. Worse, these negative findings haven’t led to banning selling these nostrums to cure disease.

  19. 19
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)
    That works out to about a quarter per person per year.

    Think of all the good which could have resulted if that more than 1.75 billion had been spent on social safety nets, eh?

    It would be about a quarter per person per year.

    Target the bottom 20% and it’s $1.25 per person per year. Bottom 5% and it’s a five spot per person per year.

    Math is hard!

    (Snark, of course, is easy.)

    Of course, the funding is wrong, but people want (and vote) for it. Welcome to democracy.

    But … go educate them!

    Follow the link and tell your congressvermin to end this nonsense now.

    I’m cm’s cm and I endorse this message.

  20. 20
    ck

    raven wrote:

    The US government spends $2 billion a year on “faith based initiatives”. Whatever those are.

    For all intents and purposes, abstinence-only sex ed is a “faith-based initiative”, or as I like to call it, corporate welfare for failing conservative churches.

  21. 21
    Geral

    They could have spent $1.75 billion on condoms and at least they’d have prevented some unplanned pregnancies.

  22. 22
    ck

    Geral wrote:

    They could have spent $1.75 billion on condoms and at least they’d have prevented some unplanned pregnancies.

    … even if 95% of them were blown up into balloons before the end of class.

  23. 23
    truthspeaker

    For a definitively failed program.

    Failure and success are irrelevant. Ideological purity is what they value.

  24. 24
    Marcus Ranum

    Delete the F-35 Raptor (AKA: corporate welfare to Lockheed-Martin) and the Littoral fighting ship and we could have free medicare for everyone! Get us out of Afghanistan, close Gitmo, and shut a few bases and we’d be in the black and then we could go on the gold standard and (eyeroll)

  25. 25
    Ichthyic

    again, shocked to see in all the discussion of spending shifts…

    nobody mentions Homeland Security.

    The single biggest non-military government program ever created on the face of the planet.

    why don’t you START THERE.

  26. 26
    Marcus Ranum

    Homeland Security.

    It’s already back to creating jobs for the defense/industrial complex.

  27. 27
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    F-35 Raptor

    Ahem! It’s the F-22 Raptor.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJly2KmjuEA

    (And also the defence-home-modelist complex.)

  28. 28
    Steve Caldwell

    # 16 csue wrote:

    Am I the *only* one here who notices that the “flame” over CFI’s letter I in their logo looks like a sperm?

    Seminal observation …

    :^)

  29. 29
    Azuma Hazuki

    What would help is comprehensive sex and love education.

    A lot more discussion of commitment, relationships, the differences between infatuation, limerence, love, lust, and the darker urges that pop up in some people to dominate and conquer.

    And some basic lessons on consent! In a nutshell, “enthusiastic consent means yes, everything else means no even if it’s not an explicit no, and if you or your lover want to stop in the middle, your lover or you respectively must stop, right the fuck now.”

    Basic godsdamned empathy training, if it comes to that. Instilling more humanist and constructive ideas of masculinity in our boys and young men, helping our girls and young women have an internal locus of control and avoid the neurotic trap of hanging their self-worth on others’ ideas of them…

    It’s not as pie in the sky as it sounds, is it? ;-;

  30. 30
    jeroenmetselaar

    So, uhm, how many condoms would Trojand or Durex give you for an order that magnitude?

  31. 31
    Monsanto

    But it worked so well for Bristol Palin that now she promotes its obvious advantages.

  32. 32
    Amphiox

    Re #24;

    F-35 Lightning, JSF.

    The F-22 program ended a while ago, so there’s nothing to delete with that anymore. Just the maintenance of the jets already bought.

    Anyone know if this amount on Abstinence programs is more or less than the budget of NASA?

  33. 33
    AlexanderZ

    @Amphiox #31:

    Anyone know if this amount on Abstinence programs is more or less than the budget of NASA?

    Two orders of magnitude less. NASA’s budget is 18.7 billions per year, while this is just 100 millions per year. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA

  34. 34
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Start of 1996 to end of 2013 is 17 years.

    1,750,000,000 / 17 = 102,941,176.47

    You’ve spent almost $103 million a year on a program that increses teenage pregnancy and STI transmission. Man, fuck the Republicans.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    If we want to estimate the damage, don’t only count the pregnancies and STIs. Think about how much damage could have been avoided teaching kids about consent from a young age.

  37. 37
    Marcus Ranum

    It’s the F-22 Raptor.

    Yes, and I normally know that, except there was about a half a bottle of really good burgundy in me and I typed that heading out the door…

    Thanks for the correction!

  38. 38
    Marcus Ranum

    PS – can the F-22 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter! None of them are going to be state of the art by the time they work, if they ever do. And don’t let’s get started on the Osprey.

  39. 39
    Marcus Ranum

    Osprey: Program cost $35.6 billion after planned procurement of 408 aircraft
    F-35: Program cost $1.5 trillion – each plane is about $11 billion
    F-22: Program cost $66 billion

    None of these weapons systems work particularly well. I always get a bitter laugh from Chuck Spinney’s quip about the Osprey – with it’s glide ratio, it’s not a very good airplane and with its inability to autorotate it’s not a very good helicopter, either. Program costs for the Osprey jumped because they impacted-hardened it – that’s right, the “crash” strategy is to make them a bit more bounce-resistant.

  40. 40
    Azuma Hazuki

    The problem with the F35 as i understand it is that it’s trying to be all things to everyone. Military hardware is very very complex; it would make more sense to have equipment that does one or two things and does them very well, I would think.

    I am the furthest thing from a military expert of course, but…what exactly is wrong with the A10 for air to ground combat, for example? Sure, that’s all it can really do, but it does it really well (it’s built around a gigantic GAU-8 cannon firing massive depleted uranium shells, lack of Lord forgive us…).

    I have a feeling drones and UAVs are going to obsolete most of the big fighters anyway…

  41. 41
    numerobis

    At $0.30 per American per year, that’s one rubber per American per year, which means two annual safe heteronormative sex acts for the straights — and some fun for the queers too, but how much depends on the variety of queer.

  42. 42
    numerobis

    As for the quip about the deficit, the GOP rants about the “waste” of individual fruit fly research grants of $50k (which pays about one student and summer funding). PZ is definitely on-side for ranting about $100M. But the GOP doesn’t need to make sense.

  43. 43
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    numerobis

    At $0.30 per American per year, that’s one rubber per American per year, which means two annual safe heteronormative sex acts for the straights — and some fun for the queers too, but how much depends on the variety of queer.

    head->desk
    1.) ALL Americans includes babies.
    2.) We’re talking about programs exclusively aimed at highschool teens, so even if the money had been spent solely on giving them condoms this would amount to a handy supply.
    3.) Economics, budgets, education. They are not “I stop abstinence only and then buy condoms”

  44. 44
    NelC

    Azuma Hazuki @40, there are two problems with the A-10 as I understand it. The first is age: the airframes are getting a tad old now, at around thirty years, and flying low does tend to age an airframe. Replacing it will require a new design, as the old manufacturing line probably doesn’t exist any more, never mind the expertise that put it together.

    The other problem, apparently, is that the A-10 flies low and slow, and real pilots fly high and fast. It’s a status thing, I guess. Low and slow is not only unimpressive (if you have a limited imagination), it’s dangerous. Uncouth fellows on the ground shoot at you. There’s no glory in being shot down by a soldier, with a gun.

  45. 45
    kevinalexander

    C’mon, you guys carry on like the Pentagon is some kind of protection racket. They’re PATRIOTS and they only have your best interests at heart and besides, you do have a nice country there and it would be a shame if something should happen to it.

  46. 46
    numerobis

    Giliell @43, you will feel better by not banging your head on the desk. You could put the energy into laughter instead. Or, as you rightly point out, you could use the energy for other things too.

  47. 47
    David Marjanović

    *shock*

    *hulk*

    To me, that’s the most galling thing: that this money was used to keep people ignorant, making the problem it ostensibly addresses worse.

    See, it’s not about the consequences of sex. It’s not about doing anything. It’s actually not even about sex.

    It’s about principle.

    Failure and success are irrelevant. Ideological purity is what they value.

    Exactly!

    And You The People of the United States are paying for it.

    What would help is comprehensive sex and love education.

    Yep.

    Instilling more humanist and constructive ideas of masculinity in our boys and young men

    Why bother? Drop the whole concept. I’m living fine without it as far as I can tell.

  48. 48
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Azuma Hazuki

    The problem with the F35 as i understand it is that it’s trying to be all things to everyone.

    Well, the real problem is that we haven’t got any actual use for any of the purposes that it’s supposed to be for. Even for those who believe our wars are legitimate, we don’t engage in wars with people who’ve really got air forces anymore.

    NelC

    Replacing it will require a new design, as the old manufacturing line probably doesn’t exist any more, never mind the expertise that put it together..

    Those aeronautic engineers are supposed to be clever sorts, I’m sure they can work something out.

  49. 49
    LykeX

    At $0.30 per American per year, that’s one rubber per American per year

    Actually, at bulk rates, it’s $15 per 1,000 condoms, or 20 condoms for 30 cents.

    If we focus just on the population between 15 and 19 years (according to the 2010 census), we’re talking about approx. 22 million people. That quickly puts us in the vicinity of a condom per day per person.

    Obviously, it would make sense to divert some of that cash to pay for proper sex education instead, but still, free condoms would certainly do more to prevent pregnancies and infections that abstinence only programs.

  50. 50
    Doug Little

    I am the furthest thing from a military expert of course, but…what exactly is wrong with the A10 for air to ground combat, for example?

    How about the AC130 that’s pretty effective both as a weapons platform and also scaring the crap out of your enemy. I’m with you on the drone angle by BTW I don’t believe it will be long before we have fighters that can complete missions by themselves with minimal human intervention.

  51. 51
    busterggi

    Its a job creation program, nothing to do w/ preventing pregnancy or stds.

  52. 52
    LykeX

    But if the money was used to teach proper sex education, you’d still be creating the same number of new jobs, only you’d also get some actual value for the money.

    If you’re going to create jobs, why create useless ones?

  53. 53
    doubtthat

    Late to the game, but this should further everyone’s pissed-offedness:

    The NOAA had to furlough staff and cancel participation in international weather satellite programs because their budget was cut by $271 million. Million. The weather satellite program cost $50 million.

    We are going to have at least a year long gap in polar weather satellites while we’re spending a hundred million a year on that…

  54. 54
    Doug Little

    We are going to have at least a year long gap in polar weather satellites while we’re spending a hundred million a year on that…

    Yeah the climate change denialists are gonna love that since most of the warming has been happening in the arctic, they will have another year to bash Cowtan and Way.

  55. 55
    unclefrogy

    we can’t give out condoms and teach about sex just like that. If we do that the kids will want to have sex! That would be encouraging immorality. We need to teach christian morality, only then the kids will want to save sex for marriage with the opposite sex and not want to have sex just for fun!
    We need to bring in priests, ministers and lay preachers to our schools to properly inform our young children about the evils of sex without the benefit of gods blessing of heterosexual marriage.
    What would be could go wrong with that with that?
    uncle frogy

  56. 56
    kevinalexander

    Didn’t anyone tell them that abstinence only has a loophole?

    ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ZF_R_j0OY

  57. 57
    NelC

    Dalillama @48, these would be that ilk of aerospace engineers that did such a good job on the F-35, F-22, A-12, V-22 and so on?

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