War = our money

For more information from the nonprofit National Priorities Project, go to www.nationalpriorities.org.

Last week, we did it again. We scrambled for the paperwork, wracked our brains for the deductions, readied the forms and rushed it all to the post office. We got so busy preparing for April 15 that many of us forget to take stock of it all and ask the obvious question:

Where does our tax money go?

Would it surprise you that 42.2 percent of every federal tax dollar last year went to military spending? According to the National Priorities Project, a nonprofit research organization that examines the local impact of federal-spending policies, this figure includes 28.7 percent for current military and war spending (in Iraq and Afghanistan), 10 percent for interest on military debt and 3.5 percent for veterans’ benefits.

In contrast, we spent just 8.7 percent to combat poverty; 4.4 percent on education, training and social services and 2.6 percent on the environment, energy and science programs.

The United States now operates more than 750 overseas military installations and spends more on its military than all the other countries of the world combined. Meanwhile, at home, the nation’s infrastructure is falling apart, the feds are cutting allocations to the states, the states and cities are struggling with budget deficits. Instead of a philosophy of enlightened self-defense that sees military action as a last resort, we’ve moved to a kind of hubristic imperialism. And the weak economy at home and declining dollar overseas show what happens when we borrow billions from other countries to pay for excessive weapons systems and, ultimately, war.

And why are we borrowing those dollars? Because the Bush administration cut the taxes of the richest Americans, even while it was taking us to war in Iraq. It’s worth remembering, just post-tax day, that John McCain wants to make those tax cuts permanent and continue the war indefinitely.