ACTION ALERT: Beyond Sequestration: Rein In Pentagon Waste
February 20, 2013 Friends Committee on National Legislation & Progressives United
Members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, are backing away from making significant cuts to the Pentagon budget. The Pentagon and some members of Congress claim that cutting $1 trillion over 10 years is too drastic. So we've put together a 90-second video that shows what those cuts look like.
Catastrophic Pentagon Cuts? Not Really Jim Cason / Friends Committee on National Legislation
WASHINGTON, DC (February 18,, 2013) -- Members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, are backing away from making significant cuts to the Pentagon budget. Senate Democrats now say they want to see cuts of only $27 billion, and House Republicans are pursuing a plan to restore all planned Pentagon budget cuts.
The Pentagon and some members of Congress claim that cutting $1 trillion over 10 years is too drastic. So we've put together a 90-second video that shows what those cuts look like.
Even after these cuts, the conclusion of two wars, and accounting for inflation, we'd still be spending more on the Pentagon than we did during most of Vietnam and the Cold War. And we'd still be spending many, many times as much on the Pentagon as we spend on other critical priorities like funding education, stopping climate change, and engaging diplomatically with the rest of the world.
Yet Congress can't even agree to let these cuts happen.
If you think this should change, here's what you can do:
1. Write your senators—who we expect to have the biggest influence on Pentagon cuts—and tell them to support at least $1 trillion in Pentagon cuts over the next 10 years.
2. Share this video with your friends, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Get the word out about what these cuts would look like.
3. Join us for a Week of Action to Cut the Pentagon Budget, February 18-22. Sign up to get daily email reminders about simple actions you can take each day to convince your members of Congress to cut the Pentagon budget. You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter.
More Than 100 Groups Tell Congress
It's Time To Rein In
Wasteful Pentagon Spending
Dear Members of Congress:
The undersigned organizations represent millions of Americans with a tremendous stake in the outcome of the ongoing budget process. As Congress debates the debt ceiling, automatic spending cuts and spending in 2013 and going forward, our organizations urge you to ensure adequate funding to preserve the basic functions of government and real security for all our people.
There are two paths toward accomplishing this goal and both must be followed. First, additional new revenues must be enacted. President Obama has identified at least $600 billion in new revenues if the wealthiest Americans are required to pay their fair share. We can raise more than $600 billion by closing tax loopholes for corporations, for the wealthiest 2 percent and for companies that outsource jobs overseas.
Second and just as important: we must rein in wasteful Pentagon spending. We believe Pentagon spending should be cut by a minimum of $500 billion to $550 billion over 10 years – similar to the automatic cuts to the Pentagon that go into effect beginning in March if Congress does not act (the “sequester”). We note that many military experts say cuts could be as high as $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion over the next decade without compromising national security.
Pentagon spending, which comprises more than half of the current discretionary budget, continues to absorb the lion’s share of the money Congress appropriates. Without more cuts to Pentagon spending, even very deep cuts to all other discretionary funding taken together will fall far short of alleviating deficit spending and the rising debt.
We view reining in wasteful Pentagon spending as a mandate. We must stop paying for the things we don’t need so that we can afford to pay for the things we do need. This includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and the Affordable Care Act. And it includes discretionary domestic programs such as Head Start, nutrition aid, job training, education and cancer screening, just to name a few.
As a community of advocates, we are committed to creating good jobs here in America, providing our families with security and building a brighter future for our children. If we invest some of the billions we spend on the Pentagon in other sectors of our economy, we would actually generate MORE jobs, strengthening the middle class and protecting essential services that help our families. Economists at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst found that public dollars invested in clean energy, health care, and education all create significantly more jobs within the U.S. economy than investing an equivalent amount in the military.** As we struggle with high unemployment rates across the nation, this is a critical point to consider.
We want a safe and secure nation. The safety of our residents is of utmost importance. Proposals to rein in wasteful Pentagon spending should not threaten that priority. But the Pentagon budget should not be immune from oversight and fiscal responsibility. Like any other department, the Pentagon must be held accountable for its spending and be able to prove that its programs are a responsible and worthwhile use of our limited tax dollars.
We believe budget decisions reflect our values, and we believe that we can responsibly pare down wasteful Pentagon spending without compromising our nation's security. We can shift from spending on outdated, unnecessary weapons to investments in projects that keep us secure and help us prosper- first responders, teachers, bridges, roads, and rails. As you face some of the most difficult budgeting challenges in our nation's history, we urge you to consider all the paths we must embark upon in order to achieve responsible investments at home.
Action for the Common Good
Advocacy for Justice and Peace Committee of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Alliance for a Just Society
Alliance for Global Justice
Amalgamated Transit Union
American Friends Service Committee
American Voices Abroad Berlin
Americans for Democratic Action
Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
Brake the Cycle of Poverty
Campaign for America's Future
Campaign for Community Change
Caring Across Generations
Center for Conscience & War
Center for Effective Government
Center for International Policy
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Children's Defense Fund
Cleric of St. Viator Provincial Council (Viatorians)
Coalition for Peace Action
Coalition of Labor Union Women
Coalition on Human Needs
Collaborative Center for Justice
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS)
Community Action Partnership
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Democracy for America
Democratic Socialists of America
Disciples Justice Action Network
Education Equals Making Community Connections
Environmentalists Against War
Every Child Matters Education Fund
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Foreign Policy In Focus
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Friends of the Earth
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Historians Against War
Independent Living, Inc.
Jobs With Justice
Just Foreign Policy
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Leadership Council, Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Metropolitan Community Churches
Military Families Speak Out
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Alliance of HUD Tenants
National Black Justice Coalition
National Council of Jewish Women
National Employment Law Project
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Health Care for the Homeless Council
National Immigration Law Center
National Jobs for All Coalition
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty
National Low Income Housing Coalition
National Network of Abortion Funds
National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW Local 2320
National People’s Action
National Priorities Project
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
New Priorities Network
No FEAR Coalition
Office for Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation Franciscan Friars (OFM) Holy Name Province
Office of Peace and Justice, Augustinians : Province of St. Thomas of Villanova
Peace Action West
Pentagon Budget Campaign
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)
Promise the Children (Unitarian Universalist)
Rebuild the Dream
School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Institute Justice Team
Social Justice Ministry of Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Social Security Works
Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice
The Global Justice Institute
The Shalom Center
U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Electrical Workers (UE)
United for a Fair Economy
United For Peace and Justice
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
United States Student Association
US Missionary Oblates, JPIC
US Peace Council
Veterans For Peace
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Voices for Progress
War Resisters League
Wider Opportunities for Women
Win Without War
Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)
**The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: An Updated Analysis, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Department of Economics (December 2011)
For more information on related topics, look for fact sheets at www.fcnl.org/issues/budget. Rein In Pentagon Spending Cole Leystra / Progressives United
The Republican answer for averting the "sequester" -- a huge glut of indiscriminate cuts to military spending and critical public services -- is to restore all military funding and cut programs like Social Security and Medicare to the bone.
There is absolutely no justification for making any cuts to the benefits hardworking American families have earned or are earning. But the Pentagon budget is full of wasteful programs that exist in large part because a defense lobbyist pushed for them.
We can help turn the self-made dysfunction of Washington, D.C. into a blow against utterly wasteful defense spending. But we have to act now to seize the opportunity.
It has to make you wonder when members of Congress continually focus on slashing earned benefits for ordinary Americans, including our most vulnerable citizens, while refusing to cut a dime of wasteful defense spending.
The Pentagon budget, bloated by two expensive wars over the last decade, has been stuffed with special giveaways to corporate contractors, who have successfully shielded their pork-barrel projects with lavish campaign contributions -- over $26 million from defense interests in the last election alone.
But that shield won't protect them from the scheduled sequester cuts. That gives us more leverage than we have under normal conditions.
If we build enough pressure, we can take the lid off a needlessly sanctified -- and pointlessly wasteful -- portion of the federal budget.