So, You Want to Cut the Defense Budget? Look to Nukes.

Guest post by Holly Davis, Global Zero

Please welcome guest blogger Holly Davis, a former program assistant with AmericaSpeaks. Holly now works at Global Zero, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons around the globe.

At this time last year, I was excited to hear what the thousands of participants at AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economywould have to say about the tough choices about the federal budget. We worked together passionately at tables across the country to conquer the budget deficit and discovered creative solutions. Yet one year later, our country is still faced with excruciating budget debates, and I am still talking about the budget crisis.

As many of us discussed during Our Budget, Our Economy, our country and many other developed nations spend an inordinate amount of the national budget on military defense expenditures—a whopping $680 billion in the U.S. for 2010 alone. Thanks to some expert research from Global Zero, a nonprofit dedicated to the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons, we now know that the world’s governments will spend $1 trillion on nuclear weapons in the next 10 years. You read that right–$1 trillion.

We all know that $1 trillion could be better spent to solve the vast budget gaps still challenging our country. At last summer’s national meeting on the federal budget deficit, more than 8 out of 10 participants supported cutting the defense budget by 5% or more in order to achieve long-term fiscal stability. Given the high price of nuclear weapons, why not start with cutting spending on nukes?

I am excited to share a new campaign from Global Zero that calls on world leaders to cut spending on nuclear weapons instead of other vital services. Thousands of people from around the world like you and me are joining together to sign the petition that will be delivered at the G20 meetingthis November, calling on our world leaders to cut nukes, not the services we care about.

During Our Budget, Our Economy, I heard discussions at many tables about how budgets are moral documents and reflect our priorities as a society. Global Zero is demanding answers to that same question – why spend $1 trillion worldwide over the next decadeon nuclear weapons when we have to make tough choices about cuts to education, job creation, health care, public safety, and clean energy? The cost of just 1 US nuke for a year (and the U.S. has 8,600 of them – about 25 times the size of China’s arsenal, in case you’re wondering) could get us:

  • 99,000 sq. ft. of solar panels
  • Jobs for 78 firefighters
  • 200 new jobs for unemployed Americans
  • 400 college scholarships
  • Health Care for 36,000 low-income Americans

While my experience at both AmericaSpeaks and Global Zero has been motivating in unique ways, it is exciting to continue to be involved in efforts to bring the voice of the people to decision makers. In this case, I feel strongly that the money spent on nuclear weapons is better spent elsewhere, and I know that others out there feel the same. Join the movement!

You can learn more about Global Zero and sign the petition at http://cutnukes.globalzero.org/

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