My parents, God bless them, send me care packages every month or so that contain among other things, good magazines to read. Usually I can count on getting a mental_floss and a Relevant for thought-provoking reads and People or US for pictures of dresses that maybe I can have a seamstress recreate for me here. The latest package contained a new (to me) magazine called Sojourners. It’s a Christian magazine dedicated to social justice, so it’s right up my alley. The feature of the June issue is an interview with Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. He is an outspoken opponent of the US government’s military spending. I always knew the US spends way too much on defense, but I didn’t realize just how out-of-control it’s gotten until I read this article. So, I wish to share some information.
The Pentagon’s budget is $700 billion. We spend more than five times as much on the military as the world’s second biggest spender, China. In fact 58% of our national budget is used for military. Only 4% on education. So when you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for your son’s college education or why your public school suddenly has “pay to play” and you have to shell out $30 so your daughter can play basketball, you know who to blame.
Mr. Cohen points out that if you took only one tenth of the Pentagon’s budget, you could provide health care for all the kids in our country who currently don’t have it. Does it make you angry that children in our country don’t have health care while we’ve built up a stockpile of enough nuclear weapons to blow up all of Russia 166 times? What need could we possibly have for that much weaponry? None.
He quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. who said that a nation that continues to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. Amen, brother. You know, I’ve always liked Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. I liked them even more when they teamed up with Stephen Colbert to produce a flavor, the proceeds of which went to charity. Now I fully intend to increase my consumer support of Ben & Jerry’s even further. There aren’t a lot of businesspeople out there doing good in the world. It’s important to support the ones who do. I’d also encourage you to do your own research on the topic of how our government spends its money. Politicians like to pick on programs like welfare, social security, and education, but what we spend on those is a drop in the bucket compared to our military expenditures. If you’re outraged, write your congressman, tell your friends, spread the word.