Voters must choose between war and social programs

NPP Pressroom

Sea Coast Online
Miles C. Freeman

To the Editor: I have been closely following stories about pending cuts in education and health-care spending in our local communities. The situation is sad and frightening! According to the National Priorities Project (NPP), paying for endless war does little to help us in Maine. So far, the wars in "Iraqi-stan" have cost us taxpayers more than $915 billion. In addition to this amount, Congress has approved another $137 billion request for more war spending in 2010, which will bring the total war spending in Iraqi-stan to more than $1 trillion. President Obama's 30,000-troop-surge funding request is expected to be voted on by Congress in the spring of 2010. Taxpayers in Maine have paid $2.5 billion for our share of the total Iraqi-stan war spending since 2001. That money could have brought us: 768,740 people with health care for one year; or 3,749,594 homes with renewable electricity for one year; or 62,242 public safety officers for one year; or 327,197 scholarships for university students for one year; or 19,080 affordable housing units; or 349,936 Head-Start places for children for one year, or 46,058 elementary school teachers for one year. NPP has come up with similar sets of figures for several towns in Maine, fro Bath and Kennebunkport in particular. The same situation exists for all Maine towns, as our state has now contributed more than 2.5 billion for the wars. Just imagine how far that money could have gone to help solve the current fiscal crises in our state! War spending is now a local issues, and elected officials at all levels should be calling our congressional delegates to take leadership in cutting war spending. In a survey conducted a few weeks ago, of 45 or the 50 states, the National Governors Association found that states have $18.8 billion of budget gaps yet to be closed in fiscal year 2010. This comes after they have already imposed harsh cutbacks to eliminate budget shortfalls. War spending is costing us about $12 billion a moth. We can't have war and pay for education and social progress at the same time. The days of butter and guns are over. The taxpayers now have to choose one or the other! Most figures (used in this letter) are from Check it out.