This week the nation funds our priorities as we pay our annual tax bill. As the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners so eloquently stated -- "Our budget is a moral document, and it is either going to reflect the best of who we are or the worst." Tax expenditures speak to who we are as a people. They define the sacrifices and choices we are willing to make as we look to the future for our nation and citizens young and old alike. Each expenditure is by necessity a critical affirmation of meeting the nation's needs.
With a continued waning economy, each dollar becomes even more significant. So many issues remain under-funded or non-funded; therefore, the decisions we make are even more critical. From education, healthcare, infrastructure to environmental stewardship we are forced to choose and prioritize our needs. Yet there remains a gorilla in the room that not only threatens our very survival, it steals from the lifeblood of every community in our nation, depriving them of precious resources and taking a toll in opportunity costs -- the critical programs left wanting when funding is not available. I am speaking of the massive dollars spent on behalf of nuclear weapons programs. Once again, according to Stephen Schwartz, author of the "Atomic Audit," this number will exceed $54 billion for the current fiscal year.
The weapons that these expenditures support threaten our very existence every moment of every day. Every citizen and every community feels the burden of these costs. From our nation's poorest community
Public education is but one example of lost opportunity. On a daily basis school districts across the land deal with ever shrinking resources. As a Californian, I am terribly concerned for our state's public-financed education.
We now have bipartisan elder statesmen who are working to globally eliminate all nuclear weapons stockpiles. We even have U.S. Air Force researchers and
The choice is ours. National and international surveys have confirmed that a majority of
We the People have an opportunity and a responsibility to make a difference. It is time for all of us to raise our collective voice and demand that the nuclear madness STOP. We can no longer gamble on our future by relying on luck to protect us from an accidental or intentional nuclear strike. Nor can we afford to waste precious resources on any program that does not add value to our future, let alone that threatens our very existence.
Every elected official needs to be questioned what they are doing specifically to work toward a nuclear-free world. You can contact your congressional representative or senator by going here. Let your voice be heard. For when the people lead, the leaders will follow.
And, you can go here to determine this nation's communities' nuclear weapons costs.