Remarks Delivered at “Stop Trump’s Budget Cuts and Rent Increases” Rally, March 16, 2018
My name is Dan Luker and I am Coordinator of Veterans For Peace, Boston Chapter 9. I am a Vietnam Combat veteran and well aware of the human cost of war. My heart goes out to every Man and Woman who has been deployed to our 18 years of continuous war in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen, etc.
I am not here to talk to you today about the human costs of war, as much as it breaks my heart.
I am here to talk to you about our War Economy. Conservative estimates of the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are over 2 trillion dollars. 2 trillion dollars.
Most of us can’t begin to imagine how much 2 trillion dollars is. Think of the thickness of a dollar bill, paper thin. If you were to stack $100 bills one on top of another 2 trillion dollars would be over 1260 miles high. Let me say that again, because that is out of the realm of conception for most of us. 2 trillion dollars is a stack of $100 bills over 1260 miles high. That is our money, yours and mine because we are the ones that pay the taxes in this country. We all know and is evidenced by the latest tax cuts that the rich and corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes, we do.
At this point I could also get into military spending, the us spends each year, more than next 8 countries in the world, including Russia and China combined.
The next 8 countries in the world combined. In 2017 we spent 611 Billion dollars on military spending, the next 8 countries combined spent 595 billion dollars. Trump plans to ask for a defense budget increase from 611 billion in 2017 to 716 billion in 2019. 100 dollar bills stacked 450 miles high just for 2019 defense budget.
So, take a minute to imagine………. first 2 trillion dollars, 100 dollar bills stacked 1260 miles high and what that could have done for this country if used for jobs, housing, healthcare, Medicaid, education, social safety nets, infrastructure, renewable energy, public transportation, increases in Social Security and Medicare to name a few.
And second 716-billion-dollar military budget, 100-dollar bills stacked 450 miles high each year, more than the next 8 countries combined, including Russia and China. And Trump wants to cut affordable housing, healthcare, Medicaid, social safety nets, transportation, and Social Security and Medicare. Why, because as long as we have a War Economy we can’t afford the things that really make this country great. Investing in this country and the needs of the people working and struggling in this country. We are the ones that pay the taxes and we have the votes in this country. Let’s use that power to stop this madness. Please
Let me end by quoting the most decorated soldier in American history, Marine, Major General Smedley D. Butler, winner of 2 Congressional medals of honor. To quote a 1930’s speech he gave ”War is racket. A few profit – the many pay”
Dan Luker is Coordinator, Veterans For Peace, Boston Chapter 9, “Smedley D Butler Brigade”