Fund Health Care, Not Warfare
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched…signifies…a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”- President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dear Public Health and Welfare Advocates,
As you well know, the economic impact of the pandemic and the failure of the federal government to act decisively to protect jobs and public health have resulted in huge state budget tax revenue shortfalls. Here in Massachusetts, where over 9000 people have died from Covid19, the loss of tax revenue is in the billions.
With the budget shortfall, many local, grassroots groups who work for justice in the fields of health care, public health, racial equity, environmental conservation, and more, are focusing on protecting our social services and preventing austerity. We support these efforts.
To fully understand the state budget, we recognize that roughly 30% of our state budget is funded by the federal government. With such a significant portion of our state funding coming from the federal government, it becomes clear that our social services and safety net in Massachusetts are directly impacted by the federal budget.
Budgets reflect our values. Our federal budget shows that as a society we seemingly value warfare and weapons of mass destruction over the health of our people. However, the American people are clear: poll after poll shows that we want to end our so-called “forever” wars. With over 64% of our discretionary federal budget going directly towards militarized expenditures (much of which is subcontracted to weapons’ manufacturers such as Raytheon), our military budget is a resource-draining black hole. Spending trillions of our income tax dollars on the machinery of war, leaves precious little resources left for public health and health care. And of course, the weapons are useless against the coronavirus.
Ignoring federal spending priorities undermines health care and public health in Massachusetts.
We need a health care system geared to provide quality affordable care for all, rather than superprofits for a few. Our public health infrastructure has been neglected over forty years of neoliberal austerity, and needs to be rebuilt, as all can now clearly see. And our health depends on environmental justice. Poorer communities, most often communities of color, are dumping grounds for waste, as well as fossil fuel transport and storage.
We therefore call upon our Massachusetts State and U.S. Elected Representatives:
- To maintain and expand as needed funding for public health measures and essential services during the pandemic and beyond, to prioritize tax monies for health care, public health, housing, public transit, education, and food security, including the SAPHE 2.0 Act and the proposals by the Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity, including the Guarantee Housing Stability Act (H.5166/S.2992), Safe Communities Act (H.3573/S.1401) and more.
- To Invest in our Recovery by increasing the tax rate on corporate profits, taxing profits shifted overseas by increasing the tax rate on GILTI (Global Intangible Low Taxed Income) and increasing the tax rate that investors pay on unearned income.
- To cut the annual military budget by $300-$350 billion, as proposed by Barbara Lee, Jim McGovern, Ayanna Pressley and others this year, to free up resources for health care, public health, and COVID recovery.
- To demilitarize police forces, including repealing the federal 1033 program. Shift excessive state and municipal policing budgets to public health, COVID recovery and other necessary services.
- To enact a universal, single-payer health care system, which covers all regardless of income, employment, pre-existing health conditions, or other factors, as proposed by H.1194/S.683 in Massachusetts and H.R.1384/S.1129 federally.
- To consider the impact of global warming on public health, and therefore increase investments in sustainable energy such as wind, solar and hydroelectric sources, and support a Green New Deal for jobs and the environment.
Massachusetts Peace Action
Right Care Alliance, Boston Chapter
Boston Democratic Socialists of America, Healthcare Working Group
Boston Democratic Socialists of America
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Our Revolution Cambridge
Our Revolution Massachusetts
Act on Mass
Physicians for a National Health Program, Greater Boston Chapter
Christian Alliance for Peace
Women’s Health Institute
Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign
Mass-Care: The Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care
Traprock Center for Peace & Justice
Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition
South Shore Medicare for All
Massachusetts Public Health Association
Progressive Democrats of America