FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Budgets Are Moral Documents

This week the nation funds our priorities as we pay our annual tax bill. “Our budget is a moral document and it is either going to reflect the best of who we are or the worst”.  This was so eloquently stated by the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners. Tax expenditures thus speak to who we are as a people. They define the sacrifices and choices we are willing to make as we look to the future for our nation and citizens young and old alike. Each expenditure is by necessity a critical affirmation of meeting the nation’s needs.

With a continued waning economy, each dollar becomes even more significant. So many issues remain under funded or non-funded and therefore the decisions we make are even more critical. From education, healthcare, infrastructure to environmental stewardship we are forced to choose and prioritize our needs. Yet there remains a gorilla in the room that not only threatens our very survival, it steals from the lifeblood of every community in our nation, depriving them of precious resources and taking a toll in opportunity costs – the critical programs left wanting when funding is not available. I am speaking of the massive dollars spent on behalf of nuclear weapons programs. Once again this number will exceed $54 billion for the current fiscal year according to Stephen Schwartz, author of the Atomic Audit.

The weapons that these expenditures support threaten our very existence every moment of every day. Every citizen and every community feels the burden of these costs. From our nation’s poorest community—Buffalo County, South Dakota with its 1912 residents, 49.3 percent who live in poverty spending $138,172 of its limited dollars—to Los Angeles County spending over $1.7 billion, the costs are great and morally reprehensible.

Public education is but one example of lost opportunity. On a daily basis school districts across the land deal with ever shrinking resources.  As a Californian I am terribly concerned for our state’s public financed education. California ranks 48 in the nation in per pupil spending.  As an American, I know the cuts in public education across the land will have an everlasting effect on the future of our nation and the world.

Is this really what we want?

Today’s children are tomorrow’s scientists, teachers, professionals and leaders. I ask, is this our priority? What is the ripple effect of such short-sightedness? We all will suffer the consequences. This does not have to be the case. When will we speak up? We have an opportunity and responsibility to realize the possibilities before us.

We now have bipartisan elder statesmen who are working to globally eliminate all nuclear weapons stockpiles. We even have U.S. Air Force researchers and RAND corporation nuclear planners who suggest the U.S. could address its stated military concerns with roughly 300 nuclear weapons.  Current global stockpiles contain 19,500 weapons with over 94 percent in the U.S. and Russian arsenals. Nuclear weapons programs are not an entitlement program. They have outlived their Cold War purpose and it is now time to work to reduce and ultimately eliminate these dangerous weapons and wasteful expenditures.

The choice is ours. National and international surveys have confirmed that a majority of U.S. and global citizens want to see nuclear weapons eliminated. Their continued existence encourages further spread of nuclear materials and weapons. Now is the time to redefine our priorities.

We the people have an opportunity and responsibility to make a difference. It is time for all of us to raise our collective voice and demand that the nuclear madness stop. We can no longer gamble on our future relying on luck to protect us from accidental or intentional nuclear strike. Nor can we afford to waste precious resources on any program that does not add value to our future let alone that which threatens our very existence. Every elected official needs to be questioned what they are doing specifically to work toward a nuclear free world. You can contact your congressional representative or senator by going to www.contactingthecongress.org. Let your voice be heard. For when the people lead, the leaders will follow.

Robert Dodge, M.D. is a board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles (www.psrla.org) where he is a Peace and Security Ambassador. He is also a board member of Beyond War (www.beyondwar.org) where he coordinates their Nuclear Weapons Abolition Team. He is co-chairman of Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions (www.c-p-r.net).

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail