Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Guns vs. Butter in earnest

Our federal legislators are currently considering a budget for next year that imposes a spending freeze for most domestic programs yet somehow there's money to spare when it comes to nuclear weapons pork. The budget requests $7 billion for nuclear bomb making capacities, a $1 billion increase over last year's budget for the same programs and an astounding 40% jump over average annual spending, after adjusting for inflation, on nuclear weapons during the Cold War era.

The budget has hundreds of millions for new bomb plants that would enable the U.S. to increase its capacity to create new nuclear weapons in the future. A new plutonium facility in New Mexico to enable a huge increase in the production of radioactive cores for nuclear weapons is just one example of several proposals in the budget. This piece of pork will cost taxpayers $225 million in the coming year and about $4 billion by the time construction is complete.

While the president is working with the Senate to ratify the New Start Treaty which would reduce the threat of nuclear war, we don’t need to be building capacity to make more nuclear bombs. Just as importantly, we shouldn’t be spending money on unneeded weapons when we can’t balance our budget without cutting domestic spending in areas such as education and alternative energy that would create jobs now and be investments in our future.

Congressmen Lamar Smith and Henry Cuellar need to know that we want to invest in our future not our past.

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