Fund Communities, Not War! Demand Activists

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After the People Over Pentagon Act was re-introduced by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), CodePink and other allies dropped a banner inside the House of Representatives Cannon Building rotunda that reads, “FUND COMMUNITIES, NOT WAR.”

The bill introduced would cut $100 billion from the well-over three-quarters-of-a-trillion dollar Pentagon budget, reducing waste and redirecting this funding to other priorities. The agency’s budget in Fiscal Year 2023 is a whopping $858 billion. Despite never passing an audit, the Pentagon often receives tens of billions of additional dollars from Congress in each budget cycle.

“Cutting $100 billion of the Pentagon budget is a start in reallocating funds that go to military contractors to further destroy people and the planet instead of prioritizing the needs of the people to address true national security that includes healthcare, housing, clean water, quality food, living wages, and climate justice,” said Olivia DiNucci, CodePink organizer.

According to the National Priorities Project, if reallocated away from the Pentagon, $100 billion could:

  • Power every household in the United States with solar energy;
  • Hire one million elementary school teachers amid a worsening teacher shortage;
  • Provide free tuition for 2 out of 3 public college students in the U.S.;
  • Send every household in the U.S. a $700 check to help offset effects of inflation;
  • Hire 890,000 Registered Nurses to address shortages;
  • Cover medical care for 7 million veterans;
  • Triple current enrollment in Head Start, from 1 million children and families to 3 million.

China and Russia are no justification for further increasing the bloated military budget, despite fear-mongering and an intense national focus on outspending adversaries. Already, Russia’s military budget is only 1/10 the size of the U.S. military budget, and the U.S. spends two and a half times as much as China does on its military.

It is time to admit we are investing in the wrong priorities, and that the primary challenges we face can not be defeated through military might. The climate crisis, rising inequality, systemic racism, violent nationalism, and more are driving insecurity, not “insufficient” military spending. The Pentagons budget exceeds those of the next ten largest cabinet agencies combined. It is time to choose people and the planet over the Pentagon.

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