Don't say "Beetlejuice."
Maybe you're eager for 2016 to be over already, but it wasn't all bad. We rounded up six notable federal budget moments in 2016, with implications for peace and military spending, climate change, economic inequality and corporate greed. Take a look.
1. Pentagon Covers Up $125 Billion in Wasteful Spending.
Remember when the Pentagon commissioned a report on how it could better use its resources, and then buried it when they didn’t like the answer? The reported waste from the Pentagon amounts to more than the entire budget of the Environmental Protection Agency. If you look closely, you might see an opportunity here: a way to invest in our nation without breaking the bank.
2. Black Lives Matter Calls for Military Divestment.
The Black Lives Matter movement is best known for its work against police brutality and killings, but did you know that the affiliated Movement for Black Lives also takes a stance on military spending? As the Movement for Black Lives policy statement released this summer notes, “In the years since September 11 and the US-driven ‘global war on terror’, US military spending has increased by 50 percent.”
3. Climate Change Missing from Presidential Debates.
Is climate change like Beetlejuice, and will it only appear if we say its name three times? The presidential debate moderators seemed to think so, failing to ask even one question about the very real threat over the course of three debates. We may not be talking about it, but it’s not going away.
4. Estate Tax Turns 100 Years Old.
Happy birthday! The estate tax creates a burden for roughly two out of 1,000 estates – and the effective tax rate for those estates is only about 16.6%. But don’t underestimate its ability to contribute to a better world: the estate tax will bring in about $275 billion over the next ten years, enough to fund both NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency at current levels.
5. Obama Travels to Hiroshima.
President Obama became the first sitting president to travel to the site where the U.S. became the first, and only, nation ever to use a nuclear weapon on human beings. A nuclear free world is as worthy a goal as ever, even though the U.S. currently has plans to spend $1 trillion upgrading its nuclear arsenal.
6. Victory! Pfizer Cancels Tax-Dodging Merger.
In a victory for the little people (that’s us!), international pharmaceutical giant Pfizer canceled a planned merger after the Obama administration issued new tax rules that would have made the merger less profitable.
So long, 2016.