Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Funding for War vs. Natural Disasters

Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture | CC by 2.0

I have an aunt who lives in paradise – Paradise, California, that is.  But in 2017 it has been anything but, as the communities surrounding Paradise have been evacuated on two separate occasions due to natural disasters and crumbling infrastructure. In February, torrential downpours caused the Oroville Dam to fail, washing out homes, businesses, memories and lives.  And now they are dealing with devastating wildfires that have killed dozens, displaced thousands, and are being fought by firefighters, some of whom are only making minimum wage and working 70 straight hours.

The fires in California are just the latest natural disaster to inflict suffering on Americans, as the people in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas can attest, following massive hurricanes over the summer.

Nearly one month after being crushed by Hurricane Maria, 85% of Puerto Ricans still do not have electricity, and 40% do not have running water, and people from the Southwest and the Southeast US continue to struggle with the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

The destructive California wildfires are predicted to cost the US economy $85 billion.  The costs of recovery post-Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria are estimated to be a minimum of $65 billion, $25 billion and $45 billion, respectively.  The combined estimated cost of the recent natural disasters is $220 billion which is just a fraction of the $700 billion the US will spend on the military in 2017.

In fact, Congress appropriates more than 70 times the amount of money for the military as it does for the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund:

If the US allocated disaster relief funds to its own citizens as religiously as it allocated tax payer dollars to US wars abroad, everyone in affected areas could easily be provided the help they need to get back on their feet.

For example, instead of spending $1.25 trillion dollars to modernize the US nuclear arsenal, and $566 billion to build the Navy a 308-ship fleet, wouldn’t Americans prefer to have that money available to rebuild Southeast Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California?

Wouldn’t this military allocation be better utilized by modernizing our infrastructure, building more disaster relief centers, and hiring more firefighters and first responders?  Or earmarked to groups like Team Rubicon, a veteran-led organization that trains disaster relief volunteers?

Instead of spending money on war, which leads to destruction, we should spend money in the US to help Americans whose lives are destroyed by natural disasters.

We can’t prevent natural disasters but we as a country can fund the improvement of infrastructure and services so that after a natural disaster hits, the outcome is less devastating to the American people.

More articles by:

Chris Ernesto is cofounder of St. Pete for Peace, an antiwar organization in St. Petersburg, FL that has been active since 2003. Mr. Ernesto also created and manages OccupyArrests.com and USinAfrica.com.

October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
Marvin Kitman
The Kitman Plan for Peace in the Middle East: Two Proposals
Weekend Edition
October 12, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
My History with Alexander Cockburn and The Financial Future of CounterPunch
Paul Street
For Popular Sovereignty, Beyond Absurdity
Nick Pemberton
The Colonial Pantsuit: What We Didn’t Want to Know About Africa
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Summer of No Return
Jeff Halper
Choices Made: From Zionist Settler Colonialism to Decolonization
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Incident: Trump’s Special Relationship With the Saudi Monarchy
Andrew Levine
Democrats: Boost, Knock, Enthuse
Barbara Kantz
The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island
Doug Johnson
Nate Silver and 538’s Measurable 3.5% Democratic Bias and the 2018 House Race
Gwen Carr
This Stops Today: Seeking Justice for My Son Eric Garner
Robert Hunziker
Peak Carbon Emissions By 2020, or Else!
Arshad Khan
Is There Hope on a World Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius?
David Rosen
Packing the Supreme Court in the 21stCentury
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Threats of Death and Destruction
Joel A. Harrison
The Case for a Non-Profit Single-Payer Healthcare System
Ramzy Baroud
That Single Line of Blood: Nassir al-Mosabeh and Mohammed al-Durrah
Zhivko Illeieff
Addiction and Microtargeting: How “Social” Networks Expose us to Manipulation
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
What is Truth?
Michael Doliner
Were the Constitution and the Bill of Rights a Mistake?
Victor Grossman
Cassandra Calls
Ralph E. Shaffer
Could Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Hearing Ended Differently?
Vanessa Cid
Our Everyday Family Separations
Walaa Al Ghussein
The Risks of Being a Journalist in Gaza
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal and Treachery—The Extremism of Moderates
James Munson
Identity Politics and the Ruling Class
P. Sainath
The Floods of Kerala: the Bank That Went Under…Almost
Ariel Dorfman
How We Roasted Donald Duck, Disney’s Agent of Imperialism
Joe Emersberger
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Assault on Human Rights and Judicial Independence
Ed Meek
White Victimhood: Brett Kavanaugh and the New GOP Brand
Andrew McLean, MD
A Call for “Open Space”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail