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ACTION ALERT: Bring Pentagon Spending to the Campaign Trail


September 25, 2012
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Members of Congress have just cast what is likely to be their last vote before the election. Today, the Senate passed legislation to keep the government running through next March, matching what the House approved last week. With that critical piece of business taken care of, politicians are headed home to campaign. Make sure your candidates hear your concern about runaway Pentagon spending. And take action at the following link.

http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=61008306

ACTION ALERT: Ask the Candidates: Question the Candidates on Pentagon Spending
As candidates hit the campaign trail in their final push before election day, they are spending their time takling with likely voters about what matters to them.

(September 22, 2012) -- Members of Congress have just cast what is likely to be their last vote before the election. Today, the Senate passed legislation to keep the government running through next March, matching what the House approved last week.

With that critical piece of business taken care of, members of Congress are headed home to campaign--and to talk with likely voters about what matters to them. Make sure your candidates hear your concern about runaway Pentagon spending.

Members will be back in Washington on November 13, facing looming across-the-board spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act unless they can come up with another way to cut the deficit. Pentagon contractors are lobbying hard to take Pentagon spending off the table, which would shift the brunt of the cuts to domestic programs whose budgets have already been pared to the bone.

Do your members of Congress and candidates know what you think about Pentagon spending cuts? What they hear from you now could influence their decisions this December and into next year. Urge them to support Pentagon cuts of $1 trillion over the next 10 years, as recommended by experts from across the political spectrum (see footnote 1).

39 cents out of every one of your federal income tax dollars is going to feed the Pentagon and its contractors, and the Pentagon budget has nearly doubled in the past decade. This is a bad investment for our country, no matter what angle you look at it from.

Are you concerned about job creation? The Pentagon is one of the worst investments the government can make. According to data from the University of Massachusetts, investing more money in the Pentagon creates fewer jobs than investing that money anywhere else.

Even giving the money back to taxpayers through tax cuts creates more jobs than spending it in the Pentagon -- but education, health care, and clean energy are better investments for job creation than either reduced taxes or Pentagon spending (see footnote 2).

Are you concerned about funding for education, health care, roads, or diplomacy? The decisions Congress makes about whether even to reduce the level of growth in Pentagon spending will affect funding for all of these other programs. Ask your members of Congress: if they don’t cut the Pentagon budget by $1 trillion over the next 10 years, what will they cut instead?

Are you concerned about peace? As a community, FCNL starts from a place of faith that war is not the answer and that peace is possible through peaceful means. Two major US military interventions have left a trail of devastation, destruction and death. We can and should support the individuals who have been put in harm’s way by our military leaders -- and the best way to do that is to open a path for a different way for the U.S. to relate to the world, one that doesn’t rely on force and military might.

The people who are or want to represent you in Washington are on their way home to ask for your vote in November. Their ears are open to your concerns. Make sure that they hear loud and clear that you want them to support cuts in Pentagon spending of at least $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Thank you for all you do to work for peace. Sincerely, Jim Cason Associate Executive Secretary for Strategic Advocacy P.S. Please also consider joining us in Washington November 15 and 16 at the Quaker Public Policy Institute to lobby your members of Congress in person as they begin to debate these critical issues. Be at the right place at the right time to make a big difference.

1. For quotes from some of the people and groups who advocate this position, see "Who Says It's Time to Cut Pentagon Spending?" (FCNL Washington Newsletter, March/April 2011)

2. For more on the effects of Pentagon investments on job creation, see
"What About Jobs?" (FCNL Washington Newsletter, March/April 2012)

Friends Committee on National Legislation 245 2nd Street NE Washington, DC 20002; 800-630-1330; www.fcnl.org



What About Jobs?
FCNL

Corporations that rely on military contracts are highlighting the jobs that Pentagon spending provides to argue that Pentagon spending should not be reduced significantly. With so many people struggling to find work, this argument is compelling. Yet preserving Pentagon spending because of jobs isolates this spending from the jobs generated by other priorities in the budget.

So far, cuts in discretionary federal spending have largely fallen on non-defense programs. These cuts have resulted in job losses for teachers, construction workers and others. Under current law, the federal government is required to cut at least $1.2 trillion more from the federal budget over the next 10 years. If the Pentagon's share of these cuts is rolled back, further cuts and job losses will fall disproportionately on other areas of the budget.

Congress has an obligation to make choices about how the government should and shouldn’t spend its money, looking at the impact that spending has on jobs throughout the economy and making choices to help sustain local economies over the long term.

If job creation is the objective, investments in other sectors will create far more jobs than even the most lucrative Pentagon contract (see chart at right). These jobs also represent investments in sectors that contribute to better education for our children, better quality and more accessible health care, and cleaner air and water.

Here are some more factors in the jobs discussion:
Not all cuts in Pentagon spending have a direct impact on jobs in the United States. Congress could close unnecessary bases overseas, end hundreds of billions of dollars lost to waste and fraud, lower the profit margins of some of the major Pentagon contractors, and increase the efficiency of many internal processes without having a significant effect on US jobs.

Other options, such as reducing the number of Navy ships or retiring two Air Force fighter wings, could lead to the loss of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. But these jobs do not disappear overnight.

The Pentagon often changes its plans to develop or purchase new weapons and vehicles. Manufacturing is phased out over a period of years, during which time affected companies and communities have time to pursue many options. Often, the choice is to seek another Defense Department contract. Some of the more nimble and innovative firms seek to diversify, minimizing their dependence on one customer.

Corporate decisions about where to manufacture a product can seriously affect local economies, due to the size of some of the largest defense contractors, such as Boeing and Lockheed-Martin.

Not many towns in the US are one-company towns these days, but areas that rely heavily on these contracts can be in a precarious position due to this dependence and would be strengthened by developing industries with a more diverse customer base.

In the current budget climate, jobs are going to be cut. The question is how the cuts will be distributed. Given that Pentagon spending is not well-designed to be a job creation or employment program, Congress should be looking to invest in other sectors to put more people to work.

And, for all workers whose jobs are lost because of reductions in many different types of federal spending, Congress needs to be active to help them meet basic needs and find work again.


Who Says It's Time to Cut Pentagon Spending?
FCNL

Anybody who says you can't save money at the Pentagon has never been to the Pentagon.
-- Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi and former chair of the Republican National Committee, speaking in Davenport, IA, 3/15/11

“I don’t think the defense budget should be made sacrosanct.”
-- Colin Powell, former secretary of state and retired general, speaking on CNN, 1/23/11

We can achieve safe savings in defense if we are willing to rethink how we produce military power and how, why, and where we put it to use.
-- From a letter submitted by 46 national security experts to President Obama's fiscal commission, 11/18/10

Taking defense spending off the table is indefensible. We need to protect our nation, not the Pentagon's sacred cows.
-- Senator Tom Coburn (OK), Washington Examiner op-ed, 11/3/10

At a time of growing concern over federal deficits, it is essential that all elements of the federal budget be subjected to careful scrutiny. The Pentagon budget should be no exception.
-- Bipartisan Sustainable Defense Task Force report, 6/11/10. The Task Force was convened by Reps. Barney Frank (MA) and Ron Paul (TX).


ACTION ALERT: Bring Pentagon Spending to the Campaign Trail
Jim Cason / FCNL Associate Executive Secretary for Strategic Advocacy

Members of Congress have just cast what is likely to be their last vote before the election. Today, the Senate passed legislation to keep the government running through next March, matching what the House approved last week.

With that critical piece of business taken care of, members of Congress are headed home to campaign--and to talk with likely voters about what matters to them.

Make sure your candidates hear your concern about runaway Pentagon spending.

Members will be back in Washington on November 13, facing looming across-the-board spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act unless they can come up with another way to cut the deficit. Pentagon contractors are lobbying hard to take Pentagon spending off the table, which would shift the brunt of the cuts to domestic programs whose budgets have already been pared to the bone.

Do your members of Congress and candidates know what you think about Pentagon spending cuts? What they hear from you now could influence their decisions this December and into next year. Urge them to support Pentagon cuts of $1 trillion over the next 10 years, as recommended by experts from across the political spectrum.1

39 cents out of every one of your federal income tax dollars is going to feed the Pentagon and its contractors, and the Pentagon budget has nearly doubled in the past decade. This is a bad investment for our country, no matter what angle you look at it from.

Are you concerned about job creation? The Pentagon is one of the worst investments the government can make. According to data from the University of Massachusetts, investing more money in the Pentagon creates fewer jobs than investing that money anywhere else.

Even giving the money back to taxpayers through tax cuts creates more jobs than spending it in the Pentagon -- but education, health care, and clean energy are better investments for job creation than either reduced taxes or Pentagon spending. (2)

Are you concerned about funding for education, health care, roads, or diplomacy? The decisions Congress makes about whether even to reduce the level of growth in Pentagon spending will affect funding for all of these other programs. Ask your members of Congress: if they don’t cut the Pentagon budget by $1 trillion over the next 10 years, what will they cut instead?

Are you concerned about peace? As a community, FCNL starts from a place of faith that war is not the answer and that peace is possible through peaceful means. Two major U.S. military interventions have left a trail of devastation, destruction and death.

We can and should support the individuals who have been put in harm’s way by our military leaders -- and the best way to do that is to open a path for a different way for the U.S. to relate to the world, one that doesn’t rely on force and military might.

The people who are or want to represent you in Washington are on their way home to ask for your vote in November. Their ears are open to your concerns. Make sure that they hear loud and clear that you want them to support cuts in Pentagon spending of at least $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Thank you for all you do to work for peace.

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