Fighting for a U.S. federal budget that prioritizes peace, economic security and shared prosperity
Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis
Whenever we demand what we know is necessary for all people to thrive, politicians who have accommodated themselves to America's inequality ask, "But how would we pay for it?"
The Poor People's Campaign worked with some of the nation's best economists to find the money. If we stopped pouring money and resources into our border wall, we could move those billions of dollars into our children's K-12 education and give life to their dreams. If we canceled one military contract for a year, like the one awarded by the Pentagon to Boeing, we would have $25 billion to expand Medicaid in the 14 states that haven't already done so under the Affordable Care Act. This would mean life for millions of people in those states who are still uninsured.
If we canceled a different military contract, we would have more than enough resources to put towards expanding our water infrastructure and creating 945,000 jobs. Instead of putting those resources into war, we would support life, because water is life. If we cut $350 billion from the military budget, and closed some of the 800 bases we have around the world, we would make the world a safer place, and those resources could be put towards ensuring health care for us all.
American inequality has persisted since the Virginia planters put down a rebellion against the plantation system's oligarchy not because we do not know how to address it nor because we lack the resources but because the rich and powerful benefit from it. People live and die in poverty in the richest nation in the world history not because we have a scarcity of resources but because we have lacked the will to change this reality.
On Saturday the Poor People's Campaign: "A National Call for Moral Revival" hosted a national digital mass gathering to give the people who are no longer satisfied with this reality a platform to say, "No more!" More than 2 million people joined us online, pledging to continue to organize together and vote together for leaders who are ready to embrace a moral justice jubilee policy platform. (We are gathering again Sunday at 6 p.m. ET at june2020.org.)
We know what is killing genuine democracy and we know what we can do to stop it. We're bringing a moral agenda to the nation in this election year to demand that every politician, whatever their party affiliation, explain how they plan to embrace real and transformative solutions in this moment. We will not be divided. We will vote in November, and we will continue to push this nation toward a more perfect union in 2021.
American inequality, rooted in our original sin of race-based slavery, has gone on far too long. Now is the time for radical reconstruction. We invite all Americans to stand together and say, "We won't be silent anymore."