In his State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama mostly separated domestic and foreign policy, perhaps understandably, but let's connect some dots here.
The president mentioned the need to invest in our infrastructure, which is sorely needed and is also both a terrific job creator and economic stimulator. Specifically he noted there are 70,000 bridges needing repair. Let's get that done! Some will say there's no money for this, but of course there is -- it's just misappropriated right now in our bloated Pentagon budget, including useless, exorbitant Cold War weapons systems, maintaining more than 1,000 foreign military bases (many in countries that can defend themselves), unnecessary plans for nuclear weapons "modernization" and the $7 billion per month we continue to spend on an unwinnable war in Afghanistan, which the president says needs to continue for almost another two years, through the end of 2014.
Put that money, and maybe some of those troops, to work rebuilding our bridges, roads and schools and creating green energy technology. In October 2011, Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed a resolution to "bring our troops and war dollars home." That's the right idea. We need jobs and investment in community needs, not an endless war or bloated Pentagon budget.
President Obama said some in Congress want to protect the Pentagon from cuts by cutting even more from education, job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits. The United States spends almost as much on the military as the next 14 nations combined. Is that helping rebuild our economy and our communities or making us more secure? Tell Sen. Bob Casey and Sen. Pat Toomey that surely we can make smarter investments with our tax dollars.
Western PA Coordinator
Coalition for Peace Action