by Barry Hermanson
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” – President Dwight Eisenhower, April 16, 1953
In his farewell address in 1961, Eisenhower wrote of the need for “an immense military establishment and a large arms industry” but warned us of “its grave implications.” As our armed forces have grown in size and reach, unfortunately, there is little debate about the implications.
How much of our defense budget is actually spent on defense? How many U.S. military bases, estimated to be in 150 to 170 countries, do we need to defend ourselves? How much is to protect corporate trade routes or the war for oil? It is important to note that not one other country has a military base on our soil.
In the early 1960s, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget began reporting discretionary and non-discretionary spending. Since that time, 50 to 60 percent of discretionary spending has been for the military.
Every year, Democrats and Republicans in Washington vote overwhelmingly to fund the military. Everything else results in endless debate, posturing and gridlock.
2018 U.S. military spending: $696 billion
“… nearly $30 billion more for core Pentagon operations than President Trump requested.” – San Francisco Chronicle, July 15, 2017
The vote on House Resolution 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 was 344 Yes and 81 No.
Ninety-five percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats in the House voted to prioritize military spending, a “theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
The good news is that nine members of the San Francisco Bay Area Congressional Delegation voted no. Please call and thank them. Ask what they are doing to reduce military spending.
- Jared Huffman 415-258-9657
- Mike Thompson 707-226-9898
- Mark DeSaulnier 925-933-2660
- Barbara Lee 510-763-0370
- Jackie Speier 650-342-0300
- Eric Swalwell 510-370-3322
- Ro Khanna 408-436-2720
- Anna Eshoo 650-323-2984
- Zoe Lofgren 408-271-8700
Why did these two members of Congress vote yes?
$696 billion! How would you vote?
On the horizon are deep cuts to environmental programs, education, healthcare and pretty much anything that enhances life and your wellbeing. For example, $7.5 billion is projected to be cut from the Department of Housing and Urban Development budget in 2018. Tens of thousands will lose housing subsidies. Homelessness in the U.S. will increase.
How would you vote?
Barry Hermanson is the San Francisco-based Green Party candidate for U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached at email@example.com.