The air waves are full of babble about the impeding sequester, a forced across the board line item cut of the federal budget.  Congress continues to play a crazy game of brinksmanship that could have devastating consequesences to people (cuts to subidized housing, education, head start, food safety inspection and much more) as well as to state budgets that would be left scrambling to plug the holes in education funding, housing, HIV testing and all the other programs essential to state residents.  It also would make cuts to military spending, again across the board.  There is plenty to cut in the Pentagon, but this approach makes no sense. 

So AFSC will join in the National Day of Action calling for Congress to stop the sequester and make real cuts to the Pentagon.  Join us at the RI State House at 3:30 Wednesday, Feb. 27th or at the Worcester City Hall at noon also on Feb. 27th. 

Tell Congress they can start with the $1.5 TRILLION dollar boondoggle project, the F-35 fighter.  The first ones in use have already been grounded for major problems.  Some pilots refuse to fly them because they consider them too dangerous to fly.  End the nonsense.  Stop the program and save many billions of dollars.  Invest the money saved in our schools, health care, housing, rebuilding infra-structure - things that build true security.

We can safely cut nuclear weapons programs. We are slated to spend $640 billion over the next ten years on nuclear weapons, many of which were designed to respond to Soviet-era threats that no longer exist.

Another place to cut is defense contracting CEO salaries: the average salary of a top 5 defense contracting CEO last year was $21.5 million. This is higher than almost any other CEO on Wall Street – and these salaries are paid for by American taxpayers.

We can cut overseas military bases: We currently spend billions maintaining large deployments inEurope and elsewhere that, strategically speaking, are Cold War-era holdovers.  There are over 1000 foreign bases. 

As part of the package, Congress could close tax loopholes that primarily benefit the biggest corporations and the most wealthy.  It is time for them to pay their fair share of taxes. 

Taken together we discover that we aren't broke.  We have enough money to invest in education, refuilding our infrastructre, job development, renewable energy development and all the things we know build true security. 

And it isn't just "peace people" saying this.  Military leaders understand that they have not been good stewards of their resources and that it is time to change.  Former Defense Secretary Gates cautioned that the U.S. "could only be as militarily strong as it was economically dynamic and fiscally sound."  According to Gates the 9/11 attacks "opened a gusher of defense spending that nearly doubled the base budget over the last decade.... Given America's difficult economic circumstances and parlous fiscal condition military spending on things large and small can and should expect closer, harsher scrutiny.  The gusher has been turned off." (Gates, 5/8/10). 

Call your congressional delegation and make sure they will not cave to pressure but will stand up for moving the money from the Pentagon to fund our cummunities.  They need to hear from you - you can be sure they are hearing from military contractors!  Or write a letter to the editor, using AFSC's helpful tool.