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Letter: Healthcare or warfare?

Dear Editor,

According to information compiled by the Inter-Faith Peacemakers of Edina, U.S. military spending (2012-2013) will exceed the combined spending of all other countries in the world!

The U.S. ranks No. 1 with an annual military budget of $686 billion. China is No. 2 with $116 billion, France No. 3 with $61 billion, United Kingdom No. 4 with $57 billion, Russia No. 5 with $53 billion, Canada No. 13 with $20 billion.

Over one-half (54 percent) of the 2012-13 Federal Discretionary Budget (portion of the federal budget acted upon by the president and Congress to spend each year) will go to the Dept. of Defense ($686 billion) and the other 21 departments/agencies such as Health/Human Services, Education, Energy and Justice must share the remaining 46 percent. If you follow the money, we are a military government.

Since 2001 (10 years) we have spent $1.4 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan. That same amount of money would have provided universal health care for all Americans for those same 10 years.

We've got the money: Healthcare or warfare?

Military spending also exposes our national priorities. We rank 25th in the world in infant mortality, 21st in child mortality, 37th in overall health care, 17th in life expectancy, 49th in literacy and 13th in college-bachelor enrollments. The U.S. is the only highly industrialized country in the world without universal health care and has the highest rate of childhood poverty. Of the 500,000 people homeless in the U.S. every night, 200,000 are veterans.

Our current national debt is $15 trillion of which $4.6 trillion is held by foreign governments in the form of treasury bonds. Major creditors are China, $1.15 trillion; Japan, $946 billion; United Kingdom, $421 billion: OPEC, $229 billion; Brazil, $206 billion; and Russia $84 billion.

How will we finance our global militarism? Our grandchildren will pay.