Using the Federal Budget to Feed the Nuclear War Industry

July 13th, 2020 - by Dr. Robert Dodge / VC Star

Time to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Dr. Robert Dodge / VC Star

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. (July 11, 2020) — At this moment, our nation finds itself in a time of crisis. Reeling from the pain and violence inflicted by long-standing institutionalized racism disproportionately against African Americans and other communities of color, we also are grappling with a global COVID-19 pandemic with no end in sight. On July 15, we will fund our nation’s priorities. During this time of awakening we must step back and ask what are the people’s priorities?

Of note, it is also the time we fund the nuclear arms race that is spiraling out of control. Nuclear weapons represent the greatest imminent existential threat to our very existence every moment of every day. Our country must reassess our priorities through the lens of caring for one another in order to bring forth racial, social, environmental and economic justice for all.

Each year, Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles publishes our Nuclear Weapons Community Costs Project. Now in its 32nd year, having started in Ventura County, the project is used around the country to highlight the fiscal inequities in our communities and build support for nuclear weapons abolition work and divestment from nuclear weapons similar to what was done in South Africa to end apartheid.

As our nation grapples with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and racial injustice, we continue to fund nuclear weapons programs in the amount of $67.6 billion for fiscal year 2020. This deprives cities, counties and states across the nation of critical funds in the midst of this crisis.

In Ventura County alone we will, through our tax dollars, contribute in excess of $197 million for fiscal year 2020 toward nuclear weapons programs. Large states like New York are spending in excess of $4.5 billion and California is spending over $8.7 billion on nuclear weapons programs, robbing our treasuries of critical funds necessary at this time. This is immoral. Where is the sanity?

As physicians and health practitioners we are first responders addressing all public health crises. Tragically, in many of our nation’s communities skin color is also a public health threat to oneself. Responding to this injustice, it is time to redirect funding to address the grave inequities we see in our country.

The coronavirus pandemic with all of its global devastation pales by comparison with any nuclear conflict. There is no adequate response to a nuclear attack. The outcome is predictable and must be prevented. The only way to prevent nuclear war is by the complete and verifiable abolition of nuclear weapons. As with COVID-19, we must prevent that which we cannot cure.

We are one interconnected human family in this nation and on this planet and at long last it is time to recognize this fact. In these past months, COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have made this eminently apparent. It is time to respond and come together to abolish nuclear weapons and to redirect the dollars we are wasting on them to address the social, economic, environmental, and health inequities in our communities. 

Let this be our time to take action and make our voices heard.

Dr. Robert Dodge is a family physician practicing in Ventura. He is the president of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles and sits on the national board as the co-chair of the Committee to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

B-52 Stealth bomber to carry new nuclear weapons.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Programs Expenditures for FY 2020 (Tax Year 2019) = $67.595 Billion!

For FY 2020, Los Angeles County will spend $2,057,720,316 on nuclear weapons programs, and the city of Los Angeles will spend $841,882,188! These are tax dollars much better spent on human needs, especially now as we struggle to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, we must change our national priorities and invest in critical needs for our survival, not deadly weapons that must never be used.

You can learn how to calculate individual or community costs below. A table with costs for major cities throughout the United States, as well as source references, is also provided.


Individual Tax Costs
In 2019, the average cost of nuclear weapons development to every man, every woman, even every child in the United States was $205.93. This is based on a national per capita average annual income of $32,621. If your income is different from this, you can calculate your income modifier by dividing your income by the national average.

For example: your income $ / $32,621.00 = your modifier. Multiply this modifier by $205.93 to get your tax contribution to nuclear weapons programs this year. Your modifier x $205.93 = your nuclear weapons tax contribution.

Community Tax Costs
You can calculate the cost of nuclear arms to your community using the following formula:
$205.93 X pcim X your population = community cost. To determine pcim (per capita income multiplier) for your community, refer to source 7 listed below. Find per capita income for your county, divide by national per capita income ($32,621.00) – i.e. average per capita income in your county divided by national per capita average ($32,621.00) = pcim for your county. Population figures for your community can also be found in source 7.


NAE: Nuclear Average Expenditure/per capita U.S.
POP: Population
MI: Median Income
FI: Federal Per Capita Income
PCIM Per Capita Income Modifier (specific to community)
PCNT: Per Capita Nuclear Tax (specific to community)
NE: Nuclear Expenditure

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.