This week, the debate on the federal budget deficit continues to rage, but not in DC. It’s in town hall meetings across the country during the Congressional recess and on the editorial pages of our local newspapers. (Hope you are participating!)
Folks are mad as hell that the federal deficit is being put onto the backs of the oldest, the youngest and sickest in our communities through budget cuts on the domestic programs which take up 12% of the federal discretionary spending, while the over 50% that goes to the Pentagon continues to grow.
Across the political spectrum, think tanks, military specialists and some in Congress are beginning to agitate for cutting the Pentagon budget.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus proposed the People’s Budget. It approaches the deficit from the angle of strengthening our communities at a time of great need. It finds the revenue needed through proposals for the super rich and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. It frees up revenue by ending the wars and cutting the bloat out of the Pentagon budget.
FACT: Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.
Conservatives upped the ante on cutting military spending right after the 2010 elections. Americans for Tax Reform, along with almost every major conservative think tank, sent a letter to the GOP leadership saying that it would be hypocritical to be elected to Congress on the call to cut the deficit and not put military spending on the chopping block as well.
It’s not a Right or Left issue. It’s a community survival issue. We, the peace movement, must join the budget struggles and debate to raise the volume on the need to move the money from wars and weapons back to our communities. It’s not a deficit crisis. It’s a revenue crisis.
What can you do? K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple & Specific!
1. Attend a community meetings or conference calls organized by your Congressional representatives. Check their websites or call their district office for dates and locations. Tell them to take the lead from the People’s Budget for the way out of the deficit.
2. Call your Senators. Let them know that instead of cutting programs we urgently need in our communities, cut the Pentagon budget as a first step to deal with the deficit. If you want to get specific about what to do to save a trillion dollars: download in Word format a Peace Action List of ways to reduce the Pentagon budget or just tell them to read last week’s Time Magazine!
3. Join or organize a Brown Bag Lunch action on May 18. Peace Action is partnering with Progressive Democrats of America to do vigils at lunchtime outside of Congressional offices to end the wars and redirect funding for human needs.
4. Write a letter to the editor. It’s not a deficit crisis. It is a revenue crisis. It is way past time to change the spending priorities to focus on our communities, instead of useless weapons and endless wars.