December 24, 2012
NO BUDGET DEAL ON THE BACKS OF VETERANS AND SENIORS
According to numerous media reports, President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner have discussed cutting $130 Billion in Social Security benefits as part of the so-called “fiscal cliff” budget deal. This is unconscionable. Social Security, which is self-financed and not responsible for one nickel of the national deficit, should not be on the chopping block.
Social Security is what American seniors survive on. As Dean Baker reports, “The median income of people over age 65 is less than $20,000 a year. Nearly 70 percent of the elderly rely on Social Security benefits for more than half of their income and nearly 40 percent rely on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their income. These benefits average less than $15,000 a year.”
Most people don’t have savings to fall back on. Half of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings and nearly half of baby boomers are at risk of not having enough savings to pay for basic necessities and health care.
Furthermore, veterans who are on Social Security disability would be among those who would be impacted most by the proposed cuts in Social Security Cost of Living Increases. Balancing the budget on the backs of veterans and seniors is not okay.
WHAT ABOUT THE MILITARY BUDGET?
The proposed budget deal would also cut $100 billion from the military budget. That sounds like a lot, but it's not. Those cuts would come over a 10 year period. That would make it $10 billion a year, right? Wrong. According to VFP member David Swanson, editor of War Is A Crime, “calling it $10 Billion over the first of the 10 years is almost certainly wrong because the point of the 10 years is to load most of the undesirable actions late in the period and never actually get to them. Also, Pentagon 'cuts' are usually from desired budgets, not from what the actual budget was last year.”
In other words, the proposed $100 Billion cut to the Pentagon budget is just another lie. Since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Pentagon budget has nearly doubled. What are needed are truly deep cuts to military spending, not to the Social Security safety net that many veterans and their families depend upon.
President Obama has already withdrawn our troops from Iraq and should withdraw them immediately from Afghanistan. Even the editors of the New York Times are calling for an accelerated withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. How many billions and how many lives and families would that save?
The Pentagon maintains about 900 military bases around the world,at a cost of $170 Billion per year. Beginning to shut these bases down now would save billions in dollars, lives and environmental damage.
Veterans For Peace is calling for at least a 25% reduction to the actual military budget.
Take Action Now!
HERE IS A TOLL-FREE PHONE LINE TO THE CAPITOL: 866-426-2631 .
According to VFP Board member Matt Southworth, a staffer for Friends Committee on National Legislation, “It doesn't take tens of thousands of calls, but literally just dozens to make a difference-- especially calls from vets about cutting the Pentagon budget. You all may be surprised, pleasantly even, by how easy it is to do".
VFP President Leah Bolger Occupies the “Super Committee”
A year ago, national VFP President Leah Bolger was arrested telling the Senate “Supercommittee” how to fix the deficit problem. Now the President and Congress are looking to cut programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, yet no one is talking about making serious cuts to the bloated Pentagon. Once again it is time for veterans voices to be heard.
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