May 2, 2012 by DJKucinich
Congressman Dennis Kucinich today asked Americans to consider what kind of a country they want to live in — a country where our friends and neighbors have enough food to eat or a nation that wages unending warfare. The question comes as recent news reports point to a proposal to cut food assistance for hungry families to fund the Department of Defense.
What are our national priorities? This is not an abstract question. What kind of a country do we want to live in?
We spend about $115 billion a year for the war in Afghanistan alone. By comparison, since the Wall Street financial disaster of 2008, the down economy has resulted in millions of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure. Tens of millions can’t find jobs. Five-point-five million people have not been able to find work in more than 27 weeks.
Last year alone, nearly 45 million Americans needed help to simply have enough food to eat. For those not qualified through other programs, a family of four would need to survive on less than $29,055 a year in order to be eligible for this assistance. In the United States of America, nearly 1 in 6 Americans needed help just to put food on the table.
Now, because of two wars fought on our nation’s credit card, the Bush tax cuts and a slow economy, our government is currently operating at a deficit. Economists encourage government to spend more to spur economic growth, but Congress has called for austerity instead. Because of the Budget Control Act passed last summer, we need to cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years beginning in 2013, with half the cuts coming from the Department of Defense.
Despite the years of massive growth and well-documented inefficiency, many people in Washington think it’s unacceptable to cut the Pentagon’s budget. Instead, they are trying to find other places to make the cuts.
Where do Washington politicians want to make cuts to protect the war budget? You guessed it: food assistance for hungry Americans.
This is what it means to consider our national priorities. Do we want to live in a country where our friends and neighbors have enough to eat? Or a country that wages unending wars abroad?