This is a pretty big deal - they have collected 10,000 signatures of people who are looking for a candidate to change spending priorities, 10% of the estimated 100,000 caucus turn-out in 2004.
Priorities Action Fund is a non-profit 501(c)4 organization dedicated to educating the public about the inequities of our current federal budget. We aim to redirect 15% of the Pentagon's discretionary budget away from obsolete Cold War weapons towards education, healthcare, job training, alternative energy development, world hunger, deficit reduction. This 15% cut, or $60 billion dollars, on obsolete weapons systems and the further proliferation of nuclear weapons does not include the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in no way impacts homeland security or our defense. We have the money; let's spend it on sensible priorities!
By eliminating wasteful expenditures, America could make investments that build strong communities for a better future.
Caucus for Priorities is a grassroots project of Priorities Action Fund, working in Iowa to encourage Iowans to sign a pledge that they will attend their caucus and caucus for a candidate who supports the Corporation's budget reprioritization goal.
The message - its about what America's priorites are and what they should be:
We spend more on the Pentagon than the rest of the world combined spends on defense.Before you read on, check out the video Edwards sent to the group detailing what his priorities are:
- Only about two-thirds of children eligible for Head Start can be admitted to the program.
- The United States now ranks 44th in the world in infant mortality, behind all the nations of Western Europe and the industrialized Far East, behind the former Yugoslav republic of Slovenia, and behind communist Cuba.
- Although schools throughout the country are eliminating programs in music, foreign language and physical education, federal spending on education has fallen to less than 10% of the proposed 2005 Pentagon outlays.
- Sixty-one million Americans are without health care coverage during some period of any given year; half that number are uninsured for the entire year. Many of these are children.
- The Bush administration projects that the deficit for 2004 will reach $521 billion; Brookings estimates the total 2005-2009 deficit at 2.3 trillion.
- The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that trust fund programs, including Social Security and Medicare, will be in deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years and the entire federal budget deficit will total $2.75 trillion.
And here's the text. I particularly liked this part:
As president, I will order a top-to-bottom review of military spending. For every dime we spend, every contract, every weapons system, we'll ask these questions: Is it necessary? Does it work? Does it make us safer against today's threats...or is it designed for a threat we faced 20 years ago? And is it in the best interests of American taxpayers? If the answer is no, it will be cut - or outright eliminated.
Here's a bit from the press release:
"Caucus for Priorities proudly endorses John Edwards for president," said Priorities Action Fund Founder Ben Cohen. "For months, our members have attended his town hall meetings across Iowa and found him to be a leader who listens - and always gives the straight answers Americans deserve from their president. As Commander-in-Chief, he'll do whatever it takes to keep us safe - but he'll also make sure Americans have health care, strong schools, and the opportunity to get ahead. He'll eliminate billions in wasteful Pentagon spending, and put our budget back in line with our values."
Edwards responded in agreement: