Public Comment

Occupy the Pentagon: Add Your Voice to Reducing the Military Budget

By Nick Carlin
Wednesday November 16, 2011 - 01:51:00 PM

I am currently on the California State Democratic Party Platform Committee and am chair of the National Security plank. We are in the process of drafting the 2012 platform and I would like to get support for the National Security plank to say that we support reducing the military budget to a level that reflects our true defense requirements, as opposed to a world domination budget – I suggest $200 billion.

Our current projected level of military expenditures for 2012 is $1.03-$1.415 trillion , while the next highest spending county in the world on their military - China - "only" spends about $100B, less than 10% of us. And all other countries are far far less than that, including Russia, at around $50B (still an obscene amount of money but less than 1/20th of what we spend). 

Our current budget deficit is projected to be $1.1 trillion, virtually the entire military budget. 

Independent studies show that a true strong military defense (as opposed to world domination) budget would actually cost only around $160B. And yet we have people in Washington, including Democrats like Leon Panetta, who whine that we can’t even cut $30 or $40B a year from the military. 

As Eisenhower famously said: "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 not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children....This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross." 

This is truer now than ever, but to spend over $1 trillion a year on the military is not simple theft; it is grand larceny from the people of the United States on a scale never before imagined. 

Especially now, when we have massive unemployment. Every $100B reallocated from the military could employ 4 million people at the median wage of $26K/yr. [The US Military employs around 1.5 million active personnel. That’s around $660,000 per employee.] Reallocating $400B of military expenditures to employment could employ 16 million people. That’s more than the 14 million unemployed! This is how skewed our budget and politics are in this country. If we just acted somewhat rationally with respect to the military budget, we would have no unemployment and no fiscal problems whatsoever. We don't have a budget problem. We have a military budget problem. 

Accordingly, I would like to propose that the National Security plank of our party platform call for reducing the level of military spending to a level more in keeping with our true defense needs and with the rest of the world, say $200B/year – still double our highest spending potential adversary. 

Given the huge vested interests in the massively bloated military budget, I cannot do this alone. I need to be able to show as much support from rank and file Democrats as possible. If you want to support this effort, please fill out the online submission form . Do it under the "National Security" plank (there is a drop down menu on the form). Say that you want to reduce the military budget to $200B a year, or whatever other number you feel comfortable with. The deadline is November 18, so don't delay. 

In addition, we are having our final platform committee meeting and hearing on November 18 in Burlingame. . I urge everyone to come to this meeting and make your views known. 

he deadline to have any input on this is THIS FRIDAY, so do it now