GOP Voted to Give $740 Billion to the Pentagon
Win Without War
(June 21, 2020) — As protestors across the world are urging us to boldly reimagine our approach to violence, justice, and safety, we are ramping up our call for a similar reimagining of US foreign policy — and we’re in a moment of incredible promise.
Last week, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, with 15 of her House colleagues, introduced legislation echoing our demands to defund violence-first institutions and calling for a $350 billion cut to the Pentagon budget.
This is a critical opportuntity to advance people-first solutions to issues of security and safety. And we’ve got to give it all we’ve got!
The Senate Armed Services Committee just gave a green light for a WHOPPING three quarters of a TRILLION dollar annual Pentagon budget.
Yes, you read that right. While our country has:
• unprecedented nationwide protests opposing state-sanctioned violence against Black people,
• millions of families unemployed and an economy teetering on the edge, and
• a once-in-a-lifetime catastrophic global public health emergency,
and the Senate is doubling down on handing OVER 50% of all federal discretionary spending to the MOST violent, expensive, and outrageously corrupt line item in the Congressional budget.
It’s a decision that is SO out of step with public opinion and public needs that we believe it could become the Achilles heel — our chance to STOP yet another blank check to the Pentagon.
Rep. Barbara Lee has just introduced a resolution calling to shift these astronomical sums away from the Pentagon and into building true safety and security, and our team is seizing the moment to mobilize a public pressure, media, and advocacy campaign to get Congress to support it.
Police violence at home and military violence abroad go hand in hand: both operate from a bedrock foundation of white supremacy, bolstered by extraordinary levels of US taxpayer dollars and a dangerous lack of accountability.
The protests on the streets in defense of Black lives and to support Black liberation reflect an unprecedented shift in national public opinion AGAINST exactly the allocation of taxpayer funds that the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) is pushing forward.
Yet, instead of meeting our demands for decreased funding of violence-first institutions, SASC is DOUBLING DOWN on the ludicrously expensive and failed F-35 fighter jet program. They’ve allocated $69 BILLION to an unaccountable slush fund that lines defense contractor pockets. And they’ve done nothing to stop Trump raiding any of these funds to put up his racist border wall. Each of these actions results in direct harm and violence to Black and brown people in other countries.
Budgets are moral documents. They set our priorities. And right now the country is DEMANDING we divest from institutions that use violent force to suppress the root causes of our social ills, and invest in the programs that seek to cure them.
That’s why we’re pulling out all the stops to make sure Congress hears us and to support a generational shift away from blank-check Pentagon budgets — and we need your help.
Tanks should not be in the streets of Minneapolis. Let us be clear: they should not be in the streets of Baghdad either. Just as at home, our foreign policy has been militarized to the point that we’re told our only option is to use military solutions for non-military problems.
Thank you for working for peace — Michael, Mariam, Sara, and the Win Without War team
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The US Spends Between 24% And 47% Of Federal Outlays On The Military
Donald Smith / Washington Liberals
Rep. Adam Smith said in a town hall meeting with Indivisible Saturday (June 19) that 15% of federal spending goes to the military.
I looked at the CBO’s data on federal spending at https://www.cbo.gov/publication/56324. For 2019 it says that $676 B was spent on “Defense” and that total federal spending was $4.4 trillion. If you divide 676/4400 you get 16.5%.
But the $676 billion excludes the $85 billion for Veterans included in Nondefense and the $115 billion for Veterans included in Other and the $61 billion for military retirement included in Other and the $100 billion (estimate) included for military in Net interest. 676+85+115+61+100 = 1037.
If you include Social Security in the denominator, then 1037/4400 or 24% of federal spending is military related. If you exclude Social Security — which seems reasonable. because we paid for Social Security from our paychecks, and it belongs to us, not the government — then 1037/3400, or about 30% of federal spending is military related. (We paid for Medicare too, so perhaps we should exclude that from the denominator too, but the high cost of medical spending is a separate issue.)
So, I’ve revised the image:
The US spent over $6 trillion on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which are now almost universally regarded as disastrous. Yet Congress has now authorized a Space Force, is deploying tactical nukes, and is ramping up preparations for war with Russia and China.
According to WarResisters.org, 47% of the federal budget goes to current and past military spending.
The National Debt Is ‘Unsustainable’ and the Pentagon’s Finances Are a Total Mess, Federal Audit Says
“Absent policy changes, the federal government continues to face an unsustainable long-term fiscal path,” America’s top auditor warns. But is anyone listening?”
Alice S: That doesn’t include the 20 billion we give to the Department of Energy for the nuclear weapons program.
Jim H: The War Resisters League and the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee do an annual assessment of the federal budget. They always make the distinctions between discretionary and non-discretionary budgets which gives a more accurate picture of what the legislators and administration are choosing to prioritize. They also help bring together current and past military to give a more accurate longitudinal perspective on military funding.
The latest of their “Pie charts” is here.
Nicolas D: This goes back to Al Gore and the “lockbox.” Medicare and Social Security are self-funding insurance programs that have nothing to do with the federal government’s general revenues or spending. Any shortfall in their funding can be resolved by raising the cap on contributions from wealthier Americans. And all the money borrowed from the SS and Medicare trust funds to fund other things (because there’s no lockbox) can be paid back by raising taxes and/or cutting other costs — I would vote for a wealth tax and disarmament!
And it’s worth noting that “other” in the chart means mainly other costs of war and militarism, including the VA, State Dept, CIA, Nuclear Weapons or “Energy” Dept, and DHS.
And here is another analysis, showing that we spend 65% of discretionary spending on the military and other “defense” costs: https://www.thebalance.com/fy-2020-federal-budget-summary-of-revenue-and-spending-4797868
Since it is only discretionary spending that we (or our mis-representatives in Congress) have any choice about, one can make a pretty good case that that is the figure that really matters.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.