Nuclear Weapons, Taxes and Opportunity


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“Each April 15th the nation funds its priorities. The budget confirmed by the legislature and signed by the president tells the country and indeed the world where our priorities lie. From health, education, social welfare to environmental safeguarding, national defense and nuclear weapons programs.

In regard to nuclear weapons programs almost all agree that nuclear weapons are weapons that cannot and must not be used. Yet we maintain arsenals on alert status with a potential to destroy life as we know it. The cost of all programs maintaining, delivering and defending these arsenals exceeds $52 billion annually with increased budget requests proposed by President Obama for FY 2011.

For our cities and counties, expenditures on nuclear weapons programs come at time of reduced revenues when critical programs are being underfunded….”

Author: Robert Dodge, M.D., co-chairman of Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, and on the international board of Beyond War
Published in: Huntington News Network in West Virginia (home page: http://www.huntingtonnews.net/)
Date: April 9, 2010

For the full article:
Nuclear Weapons, Taxes and Opportunity
(540 words)
by Robert Dodge, M.D.

Each April 15th the nation funds its priorities. The budget confirmed by the legislature and signed by the president tells the country and indeed the world where our priorities lie. From health, education, social welfare to environmental safeguarding, national defense and nuclear weapons programs.

In regard to nuclear weapons programs almost all agree that nuclear weapons are weapons that cannot and must not be used. Yet we maintain arsenals on alert status with a potential to destroy life as we know it. The cost of all programs maintaining, delivering and defending these arsenals exceeds $52 billion annually with increased budget requests proposed by President Obama for FY 2011.

For our cities and counties, expenditures on nuclear weapons programs come at time of reduced revenues when critical programs are being underfunded. These range from Portland, Oregon at over $96 Million to Portland, Maine at $11.3 Million and Los Angeles County at $1.6 Billion to New York City at $1.4 Billion. These dollars could go much further in providing our future security as an investment in the health, education and safety of our citizens.

This budget outlay for nuclear programs occurs at arguably the most significant time in the nuclear age. President Obama joined by U.S. statesmen of both parties and heads of state and leaders who have voiced support for a world without nuclear weapons.

There are many current and upcoming steps as we begin this process.

This week we have seen the release of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and the signing of the New START Treaty in Prague. The NPR redefines the role of nuclear weapons in our security. This review sets the tone for the next steps in the weeks and months ahead.

President Obama met Russian President Midvedev in Prague on Thursday where the two signed the START follow-up treaty. This treaty cuts the deployed strategic warheads of each side to 1550. Most importantly the U.S. and Russia whose combined arsenals contain over 95% of the global nuclear stockpiles are having serious dialogue on the future of nuclear weapons.

Later this month President Obama convenes a Washington Summit of world leaders from over 40 countries to discuss the future of nuclear weapons and the securing of global nuclear materials. This leads up to next month’s nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) conference at the United Nations.

These initiatives provide renewed energy and the possibility to move the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) forward. This would cease all nuclear testing the world over.

As citizens we have a responsibility to encourage support by our elected officials of these important initiatives. Our children’s future and indeed the fate of the planet depend upon it. We must not fall prey to the myths that we can continue on our current path and survive, that someone else will take care of it, or that an individual can’t make a difference.

As we work together to realize a world without nuclear weapons there will come a day when the budget will fund the true priorities of our communities. What are you willing to do to help make that day a reality?

For information on how to calculate your community’s nuclear tax expenditure visit Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions Nuclear Weapons Community Cost Project @ www.c-p-r.net.

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Robert Dodge, M.D., is the co-chairman of Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions. (www.c-p-r.net). He sits on the international board of Beyond War (www.beyondwar.org) where he is the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Team leader.