Invest in People, Divest from War
A Budget For Taxpayers, Not Shareholders
It is time to redefine National Security
For too long, Congress has allocated half of our discretionary tax dollars to the Pentagon. Yet this spending did not prevent the spread of a deadly pandemic, protect families from slipping into poverty, or bring safety to our most vulnerable. As a nation that prides itself on its global leadership, the reality is our federal budget shows a different story. Our letter states:
"We must start by setting the example that having a strong national security does not mean spending billions of dollars on weapons and destruction, but rather investments in our people and social infrastructure are key to our nation’s strength, security, and long-lasting prosperity."
Military spending creates the most jobs: FALSE
In fact, it’s about 50% less effective at creating jobs than if taxpayers were simply allowed to keep their money and use it as they wished. $1 billion in military spending creates approximately 11,200 jobs, compared with 26,700 in education, 16,800 in clean energy, and 17,200 in health care.
The U.S. military has no major environmental impact: FALSE
With over 800 military bases in more than 70 countries, the U.S. military emits more greenhouse gas emissions than 140 countries. With the Pentagon recently acknowledging the national security threats climate change brings, it's important for the military to be productive in this challenge by creating a more sustainable operating budget.
More investments in the Pentagon = more security for everyone: FALSE
Many of the current national security issues we face today are not militaristic in nature. The U.S. needs to invest in solutions for climate change, economic inequality, and epidemics of diseases— all of which would create more jobs.
WHY LEGISLATORS SIGN
Since 1977, the share of state general revenue from intergovernmental transfers, as well as charges and user fees, has increased, while the share from taxes has declined. It has become increasingly important for state legislators to not only be in the loop on federal budget matters, but at the table with their Members of Congress during critical budget decisions.
It's in our interest, and our responsibility, to make sure that tax dollars are being spent in a way that reflects our priorities. Every one of today's biggest issues can be found in the federal budget, it is a map of what and who we value. However, every year half of our discretionary spending is spent on the Pentagon—the only department to never pass a financial audit and one of the worst job creators. The U.S. military budget is already more than the next 11 countries combined, 12 times more than Russia’s, and higher than at the peak of the Vietnam War or the Cold War.
Women state legislators have been speaking out since 1992 on this value disconnect. Women know that valuing security means investments in people, whether that is through housing, education, or healthcare. Securing our economy, our people, and our shared safety net is not only smart, but strategic. It is impossible to build a safe and secure nation on a crumbling economy.
By signing this letter, you're letting both Congress and your constituents know that you're paying attention and fighting for the values you want to prioritize.
IN THE NEWS
"Redefine Security by Reinvesting in Rhode Island Communities"
by Rhode Island State Senator Meghan Kallman in The Boston Globe
"The Pentagon's Budget is Far Too Large"
by Hawaii State Rep. Amy Perruso in The Honolulu Civil Beat
"Invest more in Ohio not Pentagon contractors"
By Ohio State Rep. Catherine Ingram in The Cincinnati Enquirer