Here's a somewhat effective piece of agitprop from Rep. Grayson: War Is Making You Poor Act – NEWS RELEASE.
Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-08) introduced a landmark bill last night, called the “War Is Making You Poor Act”. The bipartisan bill does three things
1) It limits the amount of funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
2) It eliminates the federal income tax on the first $35,000 of every American’s income ($70,000 for married couples), and
3) It cuts the Federal deficit by $15.9 billion.
Congressman Grayson said, “All three of those things need to be done. This bill brings them all together.”
The bill attracted an eclectic group of supporters.
The terrible thing about it is that the math is true. But of course there's no way we're about to cut a third of the non-war-related defense budget. Not until long after we have to.
It's odd in a way that more members of Congress don't try stunts like this, though. If enough did there might in the end be some movement on the issue.
If memory serves, I was wrapping up college in 2002 and I was asked to take something out of the news that week and present it as part of a persuasive argument. On my way home I heard on NPR that the US spent half a trillion dollars ($500,000,000,000.00) on military defense in 2000, and that the rest of the word combined spent about the same amount in the same year.
I heard a separate story the next morning based on a UN study that claimed it would cost about $40 billion to provide for basic food, clothing and shelter for every man, woman, and child in the world that was in need.
I mulled that over for a while a decided that, in light of 9/11 (just a few months behind us), we should cut our military budget in half. So my presentation went something like this.
“In order to be safer, we should cut our military budget in half.” The class looked at me like I was from Mars.
First, it was clear to me that we had reached spending saturation point and that additional dollars were not providing real additional security. After all, we had just gone through 9/11, and our half trillion in spending didn’t stop it.
Second, given that we accounted for about half the world’s military budget, cutting our military budget by half would not exactly put as at a spending disadvantage as against any other country. In fact, we would still be spending 1/3 of all global military dollars.
Third, we would take money from $250 billion cut and prepare the food, shelter, and clothing that the UN study said was needed. We would produce it ALL in the US (even if it cost more than $40 estimated by the UN). We would stamp (in the language of the people being helped) “provided by the people of the United States of America”) on every roof shingle, pair of socks, and grain of rice. And, we would give it all out.
What of the risk that dictators and despots would seize large portions of it? Damn the torpedoes. Let them.
I argued that more than tanks and fighter plains, we needed more global goodwill. My plan would have created that goodwill, cut taxes considerably, and made us wealthier and safer.
Anyways, Congressman Grayson can expect a campaign contribution from me.
(if anyone cares to know, I remember getting an A on the presentation)