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Sheila Tobias On Weapons And The Budget

Sheila Tobias On Weapons And The Budget image Sheila Tobias On Weapons And The Budget image
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The military -industrial community just gave itselfthe Stealth Bomberfor a holiday present. The $500 million plañe has never flown. There are plans to build 132 ofthem. Our governmerü plans to spend $60 billion on the Stealth, while refusing to spend adequate money to provide housing, education, and medical services to our citizens. We continue to build a military economy when we could choose to begin the conversión to a peace economy. The U. S. currently has a military economy. More than 33% of the federal budget, goes to developing andprocuring weapons, maintaining thepeople in the armedforces, and paying interest on past loans. We could have a peace economy. Peaceful conversión is theprocess ofdeciding to build peace instead of weapons, then re-directing the economy to support that decisión. Below are excerptsfromSheila Tobías' Oct. 9 speech in Ann Arbor about nuclear weapons and the economie system that supports them. In the speech, Tobías said it will be difficultfor the U. S. to convertfrom a military to a non-military economy. In particular, she mentioned the six million people who are dependent on the military budget for their livelihood, and the economie dependence of communities on military spending. AGENDA asked local peace and disarmament groups to addr ess the issue of economie conversión. Their responsesfollow the Tobías excerpts. There are two million men and women in uniform whose paycheck comes directly from the Pentagon. There are one million ei vilians working for the military, either at bases or in the Pentagon. Then there are three more million who are getting paid indirectly by working for contractors who are producing weapons or producing some services for the military. That means six million Americans have a deep, abiding interest in this budget. And six million people, we calcúlate, influence 24 million ( when you include family members in the equation) who are really indebted to the budget. And then there is what the economists cali the multiplier effect. In California, people live in houses that their parents spent $60,000 for fifteen years ago. Some of those houses are worth $240,000 today. You take away the defense budget surplus to Southern California, and that house is worth $60,000 again. That is a loss, not just to the person who is working for Rockwell, but to every person who 's trying to sell a house. We have a militarized economy in certain sections of this country which is so dependent on the defense budget that any rapid conversión would be very deleterious unless we immediately moved into those areas of the country and rewarded them for having had this budget. The reason we have so many cost overruns has a great deal to do with how contractors calcúlate costs. Many of these weapons have never been developed before. The manufacturers want the business, but they don't want to take any unnecessary risks. So they make the following deal, legally, with the Department of Defense and that is that the Defense Department will pay all their costs, as listed, or against receipts, plus a percentage of overhead and a percentage of profit. If you've got $100 in costs, at a 10% overhead profit, you 're going to make $10 profit. If you can bring that airplane in for half the price, you 're going to get a $5 profit. Basically, the cost-plus system creates a disincentive to save. It's a game. The game is, in a southern state like Georgia that has a stable congressional delegation, (for many years it was a oneparty state) the delegation is friendly to the military where it matters to the military. The delegation dutifully votes their budget every year. The reward is that more bases are assigned to Georgia, and more contracts are given to businesses in Georgia. [According to Tobías, in 1983, Georgia received $1.6 billion in defense contracts. The state ranks sixth in the country for military funds received. Ho wever, among all states they rank 40th in income, 45 ih in educaiion, 48 th in health and 49th in infant mortality.] Little oíd Georgia, which doesn't even have much of a coastline, has eleven military installations, with three Navy, five Army, and three Air Force. If you are Rockwell, in Southern California, or Martin Marietia, in Denver, Colorado, or Goodrich, in Phoenix, Arizona, and you know that Georgia will be favored in defense contracts, it is in your business' interest to open a plant in Georgia. So the Congressman from Georgia gets points because when he runs again he says he brought in all these new jobs to Georgia. Rockwell gets more money, because it's where the action is, to put a plant in Georgia, to collect that contract. And the game goes on. The B-l bomber, which is a very expensive airplane, was so subcontracted out that there were 246 congressional districts that stood to benefit from iL The avionics [the electronics] on the plane, which Rockwell was perfecüy capable of doing, were subcontracted to somebody in Texas, and to Boeing, to distribute the bread so that several congressional delegations would be interestcd in the plane. There are severa! ways of making money on a contract if you're a state. One is to get a weapon built in your state, the other is to get it deployed in your state, because it brings more people in. So the politics, the economics, the regional dependency, all make it very, very difficult to alter. The ground-launched cruise missile is the weapon that will be destroyed under the INF treaty. As we celébrate the INF, ask your congressperson why we decided to remove weapons that were already built and paid for. That's $4 billion for the cruises and the Pershings that we'U never see again. (s TOBÍAS, paga 6) ANN ARBOR'S 1988 MILITARY TAX BURDEN Total U.S. (Non-Nuclear) Military Spending $291 billion Total U.S. Nuclear Weapons Spending $65 billion Ann Arbor's portion of U.S. Military Budget .005% Ann Arbor's (Non-Nuclear) Military Tax Bill $149 million Ann Arbor's Nuclear Weapons Tax Bill $33 million Ann Arbor's City Budget $98 million Ann Arbor's School System Budget $80 million Ann Arbor's Pólice Department Budget $10 million Figure compfled from Military Spending Research Service, the Center for Defensa Information, the U.S. Bureau of Census (provided by SANEFREEZE). BUILDING A PEACE MACHINE TOBÍAS (f rom page one) The ground-launched cruise missile generated a fair amo un t of protest in Germany. In 1981, there were big marches against deploying missiles there. It was very hard for the Chancellor to go ahead with the deployment. Well, who do you think got the contract for the cracks that hold the housings for the missiles? One track only holds four missile housings, so when you 're talking about 400 ground-launched cruise missiles, you're talking about 100 trucks at a cost of 5380,000 each. A Germán firm got the contract for the trucks. The game is being played internalionally . We're taking SDI contracts, or promises of contracts, to Italy, to Japan, to France, to England. There is so much money at stake here that everybody can be bought. And we are naive to pretend it is otherwise.


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