Manhattan Says: Divest from War; Invest in Peace

January 22nd, 2020 - by Michael D. D. White / Move The Money!

What If, By Talking About And Realizing How Much We Senselessly Spend On War, We Chose to Do Something Else? . . Think of All The Good Things We Could Pay For Instead!

Michael D. D. White / Move The Money!

NEW YORK (January 18, 2020) — Resolution 747A before the New York City Council, supported by more than 40 NYC organizations, would put the Council on record as opposing bloated Pentagon war budgets that rob the City and its residents of badly-needed funds for vital public services, many of them now suffering from increasing cutbacks in federal spending. 

Let’s Realize How Much We Senselessly Spend On The Military

Before beginning to imagine how much good could be done by moving money from our bloated military budget, it is important to know how much we spend on the military and our perpetual wars. . .  We spend vast amounts on the military, more than most people know or can even begin to believe.  How many of us know and can conceptualize that:

•    The Pentagon and military budget is about 60% of the nation’s discretionary budget.  If all of the unknowable black box spending that goes into the Military-Industrial-Surveillance Complex were included, that percentage could well bump up higher.  Current accounting practices let the military and surveillance industries spend money in secret and not account for the money they spend in violation of the Unites States Constitution.
•    In 2018, taxpayers in the United States are paying $712.55 billion for the military.
•    We spend more on military spending than the next ten countries combined, and we spend much more than all the rest of the countries in the world left over after that.
•    In all, the United States spends over one-third of what is spent on the military worldwide.  In addition to that, much of the spending by other countries is on arms we supply making the world more dangerous.
•    About 70% of the spending on the military worldwide is by the United States along with the countries, such as those in NATO, that the Unites States clearly identifies as allies (and which we sell weapons to), while only about 14% of the spending worldwide military spending is being spent by those we might identify as potentiality unfriendly countries whether or not those countries have ever attacked us or other countries (as we have done numerous times).
•    Just the increase in the military spending in the last two years, since Trump came in, is as much as Russia spends on its entire military budget ($66 billion).  Similarly just that increase is greater than the entire military budgets of Britain ($55 billion) or France ($51 billion).
•    In May of 2011 after the U.S. announced that it had killed Osama Bin Laden, the National Priorities Project calculated that, as of that time“in all, the U.S. government has spent more than $7.6 trillion on defense and homeland security since the 9/11 attacks.”  Point of reference: a “trillion” is one million millions.   

•    New York State projects a $6 billion deficit. It will impact NYC too- By contrast, what New York State sends to the federal government to spend on the military every year is 10.4 times that, $62.4 billion!   

•    Our fixated disposition to keep spending more is entrenched with national level Democrats and Republicans (e.g. Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts who promotes herself as a left wing progressive) voting in 2017 to increase the defense budget by $80 billion, surpassing the $54 billion increase requested by President Trump.  60% Of House Democrats voted for a defense budget far bigger than Trump requested.

Is any of the above surprising to you or would it be surprising to some of the people you know?   That’s why the information needs to be out so we start setting better priorities.

What Could We Spend The Money On Instead — Real Needs and Benefits at Home?

War is profitable business.  It busies packs of lobbyists who know a great deal more about often secret budgets than we, as the public, will ever learn.  But that profit drains the resources of our society, enfeebling our ability to accomplish so much else.
We spend these vast amounts on the military while we are told over and over again, (as for instance by the media moderators of Democratic candidate debates, such as CNN’s January 14, 2020 debate) that we don’t have money to spend on public goods like:

    •    Schools, teachers, education,
    •    Libraries,
    •    Housing, including federal funds for the affordable housing of the New York City Housing Authority,
    •    Public infrastructure like roads, bridges, subways, railways,
    •    Employment programs,
    •    All of our human needs at home.

 . .  We would add to this list, for extra emphasis, how the American public is also being told that we don’t have enough money to pay for healthcare, medicare for all, or for measures to address climate change, except that medicare for all and taking actions to address the climate change catastrophe chaos emergency would actually be the far cheaper alternatives so they would costs less. . . . But if we reduced spending on the military, it would help evaporate the excuses about not having enough money.  It should also be noted that the U.S. military contributes mightily, in many ways, to worldwide pollution, burning of fossil furls and the climate crisis. 

We have significant needs at home and here in New York.  For instance, New York State is currently projecting a $6 billion deficit. That deficit will impact New York City’s budget too.  By contrast, as noted above, what New York State sends annually to the federal government to spend on the military is 10.4 times that, $62.4 billion!

If you want to see more data specific figures about the trade-offs of what reduced military spending could pay for, see the website and use the on-line calculation tools of the National Priorities Project

The “Move The Money” Campaign and Coalition
The “Move The Money” Resolution 747A before the New York City Council is being promoted by a campaign that is the work of a growing coalition of more 40 New York City organizations.

The Move The Money coalition has a Move The Money coalition Facebook page, and also posts updates and news on Twitterfrom @MoveTheMoneyNYC encouraging the use of the hashtag #MoveTheMoneyNYC. 

Here’s a list of organizations that have joined the Move The Money coalition to fight for passage of Resolution 747A (you can asks yours to join too)—

        •    1199SEIU United Health Care Workers East
        •    350-Brooklyn
        •    Action Corps NYC
        •    AFSCME Local 1549, DC37
        •    Arab American Association of NY
        •    Bay Ridge United Methodist Church
        •    Black Veterans For Social Justice
        •    Brooklyn For Peace
        •    Brooklyn Society For Ethical Culture
        •    Bronx Community Greens
        •    Bronx Peace Action
        •    CCDS-NYC
        •    Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats
        •    Citizens Defending Libraries
        •    CODA – Coalition For A District Alternative
        •    CODEPINK, New York
        •    Concerned Citizens For Change
        •    Domestic Workers United
        •    DSA Anti-War Working Group
        •    Fort Greene Peace
        •    Fort Greene SNAP
        •    First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Brooklyn, Weaving the Fabric of Diversity Committee
        •    FUREE
        •    Granny Peace Brigade
        •    Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
        •    Judson Memorial Church
        •    Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
        •    NYC Chapter of US. Labor Against the War
        •    NYC Chapter, UAW 1981/National Writers Union
        •    NYC Raging Grannies
        •    NYC War Resisters League
        •    NY State Nurses Association
        •    NYS Peace Action
        •    Occupy Kensington
        •    Park Slope United Methodist Church Social Action Committee
        •    Peace Action Bay Ridge
        •    Peoples Climate Movement – NY
        •    Professional Staff Congress – CUNY
        •    Queens Peace Council
        •    Rise And Resist
        •    Salam Arabic Lutheran Church
        •    Sierra Club, NYC Group
        •    St. Boniface Peace & Justice Committee
        •    St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
        •    The Manhattan Project for a Nuclear Free World
        •    United Community Centers
        •    Uptown Progressive Action
        •    UPROSE
        •    Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
        •    Veterans For Peace, Chapter 34

Sponsoring New York City Council Members

New York City Council members who have already signed on to support and sponsor the passage of the Move The Money Resolution 747A include: Ydanis A. Rodriguez, Justin L. Brannan, Carlina Rivera, Antonio Reynoso, Karen Koslowitz, Margaret S. Chin, Stephen T. Levin, Deborah L. Rose, Helen K. Rosenthal, Ben Kallos, Andrew Cohen, Costa G. Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Brad S. Lander, and James G. Van Bramer.

If you don’t see your city council member listed above please contact them ans ask them to join in sponsoring the bill. (To find out who your council man is go to “Who Represents Me? NYC” –  And more information about city council members and their districts cane be found here.)

What Will Happen When The Bill Is Passed?

The New York City Council would hold in-depth hearings and to that would educate, inform and the public while investigating and revealing the tradeoff in the decisions we are currently making about how we spend our money in this country as money is diverted into the Pentagon, and the priorities we could be setting as alternatives.
On Facebook the coalition says:

    If passed, Resolution 747A would put the City on official record opposing bloated Pentagon budgets that divert 60 percent of the annual Federal discretionary budget to endless wars, nuclear weapons, and hundreds of bases around the globe while slashing money for veterans, mass transit, health care, public schools, and affordable housing and other vital public services.     

Passage of Res 747A would mandate in-depth public hearings to determine just how much money is being robbed from the city and its residents and would have the City urge Congress to reverse its lopsided spending priorities and make substantial cuts to its budget that favors war before people’s urgent needs.

What Can You Do To Support The Move The Money Campaign?
Things you can do to support the campaign:

•    Contact your city council member, call or write and ask them to sig on to the campaign.  Sign the campaign postcards to your city council member.   

•    Get your friends and family to reach out to their Council Members. And write to us at a supply of postcards that you can get others to sign   

•    Finally, ask your organization to join the coalition and become part of this important movement.   

•    Modest contributions to the campaign will help pay for more campaign post cards to send.

Michael D. D. White: Noticing New York, National Notice,

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