To the editor:
As we file our taxes on April 15, think about the fact that 57 cents of every dollar spent in the annual discretionary budget feeds the Pentagon. The US outspends all countries and provides about 60 percent of all military spending by the top 10 countries. Neta Crawford and Catherine Lutz, co-directors of the Costs of War project estimated in a March 28 Providence Journal article the total cost of the Iraq war will exceed $2 trillion, far in excess of original estimates. According to a recent study by Harvard Professor Linda Bilmes, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will cost $ 4 – 6 trillion. It remains to be seen whether the wars did anything to contribute to our security or even benefit the people of Iraq or Afghanistan. Additionally, we waste the taxpayer’s dollars on weapons, aircraft and other programs that even some in the Pentagon do not want.
That is neither what we need nor what a majority of people support in terms of our spending priorities. The front page of the April 3 Providence Journal reported that homelessness has risen by 10 percent in Rhode Island and that by April 28th extended benefits for the unemployed will be hit by sequester cuts by 12.2 percent. The unemployment rate in Rhode Island still remains above 9 percent, as it has since November 2008. The number of families living in poverty is increasing. According to the Census Bureau, there are now an estimated 50 million Americans below the poverty level. The census bureau estimates about 15 percent Rhode Islanders are living below the poverty level.
There is something wrong with this picture! We think it is high time the politicians listen to the majority of Americans and choose to fund people’s needs versus endless wars that do not serve our national interest and are draining our resources. What our country needs is investment in American infrastructure and its people in a way that will jumpstart the economy, create new jobs and educate our children for the 21st century.
274 Wood St.
East Bay Citizens for Peace