We have just hit our debt ceiling for everything we spent on credit last year. It’s happened year after year, in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and every time Congress simply votes to increase the debt limit and we move on our merry way. It’s important that we pay our bills, especially when so much of the world’s economies are denominated in U.S. dollars. Not paying our bills then means not only do we stop our government and services that are critical to so many Americans, but we can affect a worldwide shutdown. We can damage our global credit rating for years, decades, or worse. Congress needs to pass the debt ceiling increase and learn from it.
They say that if you want to know about a person, or in this case a country, see how they spend their money. In our case estimated U.S. military spending for the fiscal year 2022 was $754B to $800B or more. Military spending is the second-largest item in the federal budget after Social Security. And in 2022 Congress authorized more money for the Military Industrial Complex than they asked for. Why? It doesn’t go to military families and veterans. And giving people or countries more weapons doesn’t encourage discourse or teach us how to solve our problems more peacefully.
So, what is the alternative? As a global society we need to start learning to talk to one another. We need to learn non-violent communication. We need to start behaving in a manner that all major religions teach: To treat others the way we want to be treated ourselves. And to demonstrate that in how we spend our money, we need to cut funding to the military industrial complex (not our military families and veterans) and start giving our financial support to
1. Efforts that catch issues early,
2. Efforts that go to people and NGO’s working directly with those in the thick of it – the ones that keep things from blowing out of proportion, and
3. Support the fragile truces, allow rebuilding, and keep potential crises from falling back into violence.
In our US budget there are 3 existing budget items just for this: Complex Crisis Fund, Atrocities Prevention, and Reconciliation Programs. Each is geared to peacebuilding. Increase funding to these efforts by pulling wasted funds from excess support of our military industrial complex and illegal financing such as the US support of the Saudi led war on Yemen. We all know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can see that requesting funding of these three efforts at $66MM, $25MM, and $40MM respectively is just a fraction of our bloated military budget … but they are a step in the right direction. Make sure our elected officials: Sen. Kelly and Sinema, and Rep. Gosar know this. Conflict is on the rise. Be a better US. Show we can lead in ways besides war and violence.