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Changing the Nation's Spending Priorities from War to Peace

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Government 6%

Food 3%

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Education 4%

Veterans' benefits 5%

These numbers are terribly skewed toward the military. To make matters worse, the spending levels for all categories except for the military have been frozen for the next three years.

New Jersey's budget for FY 2010 was $29.43 billion with an $11 billion shortfall. FY 2010 saw a 16% cut in federal grants to New Jersey for a total of $2.5 billion. New Jersey cut programs in Medicaid, child health, K-12 and early education, the elderly/disabled, funds for policing and hospice care and the state workforce. Ironically, New Jersey's share of the FY 2010 military budget is $32.17 billion, more than New Jersey's total budget for FY 2010!

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From 2001 2010 New Jersey spent $49.7 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That money could have provided 6 million people with health care, or paid for 4 million college scholarships or 5.5 million Head Start places or 660,000 elementary school teachers.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no end in sight to the Afghanistan war. Anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise. Last month, world-wide attention was focused on a proposal by a Florida pastor to burn a stack of Korans. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates asked the pastor to cancel his plans, out of fear of further antagonizing the Muslim world and putting our troops overseas at greater risk of attack. The longer the wars drag on, the greater this risk grows.

NJPA is asking Bloomfield residents to join nation-wide efforts to contact their U.S. Senators and member of Congress to tell them to end the war, to support HR 5015 (which requires the administration by January 2011 to submit a plan for withdrawal from Afghanistan ) and to join the U.S. Out of Afghanistan caucus. To date, none of the NJ Congressional delegation has joined this caucus.

Together we can change the direction of these wars and restore balance to our nation's spending priorities!

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Madelyn Hoffman is the Executive Director of NJ Peace Action, based in Bloomfield, New Jersey. She has held that position since August 2000. Madelyn Hoffman traveled to Afghanistan with Global Exchange in June 2005 and has given dozens of (more...)

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