Minneapolis Friends Meeting carries a concern for the critical decisions on the federal budget that must be made by the end of this year (2012). Current law–the Budget Control Act of 2011–requires a reduction in projected Pentagon spending of $1 trillion over 10 years, providing a momentous opportunity to shift budget priorities. This prospect faces powerful opposition that could persuade Congress to restore Pentagon funding by making major reductions in budgets for the peaceful prevention of deadly conflict, addressing climate change and other human needs.
The Pentagon is by far the largest federal agency and its budget dwarfs the military spending of every other country in the world. Bipartisan experts including the Simpson-Bowles Commission and the Sustainable Defense Task Force have identified $1 trillion in cuts that could be made without compromising U.S. national security.
Research has indicated that investing early to prevent conflicts from escalating into violent crises is, on average, 60 times more cost effective than intervening after violence erupts. Yet in the U.S. just a fraction of income tax goes to civilian foreign affairs agencies working on conflict prevention and resolution through diplomacy, development, and international cooperation.
Growth of U.S. spending on war threatens our ability to address the critically necessary work toward climate stability and to meet the needs of humans (hunger, homelessness, health, education, and job creation) and the needs of other living beings. The U.S. military creates the most pollution of any organization on the planet. Furthermore, the U.S. ranks at or below the median among our 34 trading partners in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on reading, scientific and mathematics proficiency; is below average for the number of young adults who complete college; and is among the countries with the worst rates of infant mortality and child poverty.
Pentagon spending is the least efficient way to create jobs. For every 100 jobs created by Pentagon spending, the same investment would create 251 jobs in education, 169 jobs in health care, or 147 jobs in clean energy. It is not responsible fiscal policy to promote military spending as a job creator when it is so inefficient.
Friends Committee on National Legislation has identified this Pentagon budget reduction as a means to realign national priorities to more closely match our nation’s actual needs and thereby build security at home and abroad. FCNL now urges active engagement and lobbying efforts from Friends across the nation.
Minneapolis Friends Meeting supports the reduction in projected Pentagon spending and the preservation of federal budgets which support addressing climate change, human needs and the peaceful prevention of deadly conflict. We encourage Friends to communicate their support for these budget priorities to the public and to Congress, and to contact elected officials to report this message.