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Setting the Priorities Straight
The Priorities campaign believes that America can solve, or start to seriously address, many of the most difficult problems we face. We can create a national budget that is responsive to domestic and international needs. And we can do it without raising taxes or creating new ones.
How? By insisting that Congress create sensible budget priorities. By reducing government waste and using the savings to strengthen American families and communities.
The Priorities campaign focuses on Pentagon waste for two reasons:
These are problems that Congress created and has allowed to fester because political candidates benefit politically (as in more jobs in their districts) and monetarily (as in campaign contributions) from military manufacturers. Because the men and women in Congress benefit from this broken system, we can't expect them to fix it until Americans demand it, elect new leaders, or both.
Where is the waste?
About three-fifths of the federal budget covers expenses that are written into law, including payment on the national debt, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. This is usually called "mandatory" or "entitlement" spending.
The part of the budget that the President and Congress create each year is called the discretionary budget. In the just-concluded fiscal year, more than half of the discretionary budget for a toal amount of $463 billion was spent by the Pentagon. These dollars don't include funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan , nor do they include most homeland security programs, which are paid for in other areas of the budget.
In contrast to the $463 billion spent by the Pentagon bureaucracy, look at what we're spending on federal programs that politicians often describe as too expensive:
Our nation could make these investments year after year-at no additional taxpayer expense.
That's our vision of what we could accomplish, a vision embodied in our Common Sense Budget Act . But ours is not the only vision. It's amazing what we could buy at the local level with the dollars wasted at the Pentagon. An allied organization, the National Priorities Project, has worked out what New Hampshire could buy with the tax dollars that instead go to ballistic missile defense, nuclear weapons, and the war in Iraq . Check out the National Priorities campaign for more information.