by Jim Hightower
Trying to bring common sense to Washington DC is about as hard as delivering a tray of ice cubes to hell — but a group called Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities is trying to do just that.
Even wilder, this group of business people, military experts and grassroots activists are trying to make sense of something as nonsensical as the bloated, obese, inefficient, antiquated, sugar-addicted bureaucratic jumble known as the Pentagon budget. Their goal is to take a slim slice of this overweight budget...and apply the money to some of our country's broader security needs.
Next year, the Pentagon will take 463 billion of our tax dollars — more than will be appropriated for the environment, education, energy, agriculture, housing, job training, poverty needs, science, national parks and every other federal program combined. Also, the Pentagon's haul does not include fighting a war. War is extra! For example, the $363 billion for Bush's war of lies in Iraq is all off-budget — he's putting that on the credit cards of our kids and grandkids.
So, the Sensible Priorities group wants to trim a mere $60 billion in fat, pork and pure lard that now goes to the likes of Boeing, Lockheed and Halliburton for weaponry boondoggles that don't work or aren't needed. This would not take a dime from our troops in Bush's war — and it still would leave the pentagon brass with more money than the rest of the world combined spends on their militaries.
With this $60 billion slice, we could provide Head Start for every child in America, guarantee health care for every child, rebuild every single American school, establish energy independence for our country through renewable fuels...and so much more.
Of course we need a strong military — but, FAT is not strong! We need a Pentagon that defends us... not one that bleeds us. To support Sensible Priorities, call 212-243-3416.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com
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