Green Party calls for deep cuts to bloated US military budget
Green Party leaders said that cutting at least $300 billion per year from military spending would resolve the budget stalemate and would free up funds to reinvest in providing jobs and rebuilding the U.S. economy, including a rapid transition to carbon-free energy. Greens blame the current deficit on reckless imperial ventures around the world, costly and unnecessary defense contracts, and tax cuts for the rich.
“Since 2001, Presidents Bush and Obama have launched wars and military attacks that have drained the U.S. budget,” said T.E. Smith, Vietnam War veteran and a member of the DC Statehood Green Party. “These actions and various ‘homeland security’ boondoggles have made the defense budget a feeding trough for contractors — while Congress and the White House continued to pump more money into the military budget. It’s time to scale military operations and spending back to what’s needed strictly for defense of our borders.”
“While defense contractors like Halliburton, McDonnell-Douglas, Raytheon, and GE made a killing and the wealthy were given generous tax breaks, thousands of Americans and their families made the ultimate sacrifice in these illegal and undeclared wars for lies and imagined threats. Under no circumstances should veterans’ benefits and services be reduced,” said Mr. Smith.
New York Green Party activist Mark Dunlea, in a recent CounterPunch column, wrote:
“No one knows how much we really spend on the military. The low-ball estimate is that it is $700 billion (a 100% increase in the last decade) but most believe it runs over a trillion dollars when you add in interest payments from past wars, nuclear weapons, intelligence gathering, Veteran benefits, Homeland Security. etc. The military budget is so out of control and hidden in so many places that it has never been audited, making it wide open for fraud and theft… The standard line is that 54 cents out of every discretionary dollar in the federal budget is spent on the military. More than half of tax revenues go to the military. We spend as much on the military as the rest of the world combined – and most of the other big spenders are our military allies.” (http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/01/time-to-cut-pentagon-budget/)
Greens call the bloated military budget a symptom of warped bipartisan priorities and are especially critical of Democrats in Congress for pretending to be “antiwar” while continuing to rubberstamp military spending increases, even when they held majorities during the last two years of the Bush Administration and first two years of the Obama Administration.
Since President Bush ordered the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Congress has raised the debt ceiling ten times to pay for these unfunded wars. The federal debt ceiling (enacted in 1917) was created to guard the country against unfunded wars, imposing limits to prevent military spending from damaging the domestic economy. The latter is exactly what happened in the past decade, resulting in the current imposition of austerity and sequestration.
According to current negotiations, only about $45 billion will be cut from military spending. Mr. Dunlea notes that Lawrence Korb, defense advisor under President Reagan, “estimates $150 billion a year could be cut while maintaining the Reagan era level of military strength.”
Greens advocate reduction of military spending by at least $300 billion, to a level consistent with immediate self-defense needs. This would mean defunding superfluous (including nuclear) weapons programs and canceling funding for foreign bases and operations that make the U.S. an empire that exercises global domination and control over oil and other resources around the world.
“The Green New Deal advocated by Green candidates, including presidential nominee Jill Stein, would reorient the nation’s priorities. Instead of feeding military aggression and the bottom lines of arms manufacturers and other favored companies, the Green New Deal would invest in create millions of jobs in green energy, infrastructure, and social services and provide financial security for millions of Americans, especially those who lost homes, jobs, and savings during the recent Wall Street meltdown,” said Starlene Rankin, California Green and chair of the Green Party’s Lavender Caucus.
“FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Progress Administration, and other programs for public employment put 15 million unemployed people to work during the Great Depression building public infrastructure and restoring soils and forests. The Green New Deal is the 21st century equivalent that will promote a peacetime economy and address our climate and urban crises. It will put Americans to work building a sustainable prosperity, based on clean energy, mass transit, revitalized inner cities, and first-rate schools, housing, and health care for all. None of this is possible under the wartime economy and belligerent posture maintained by Democrats and Republicans,” said Ms. Rankin.
The Green New Deal
“The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future”
Book by Ralph Nader (Harper Paperbacks, 2012)
“The Most Expensive Fighter Jet Ever Built, by the Numbers”
By Theodoric Meyer, ProPublica, March 14, 2013
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