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Military Spending Drains State Coffers

Military Spending Drains State Coffers image Military Spending Drains State Coffers image
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Agenda Publications
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Many people believe that our economie security lies in military spending. This belief is based on the notion that the huge military spending of WWII "got us out" of the Great Depression. Thus, the devastating effects of military spending, on the economy, are overlooked. Military spending is harmful to Michigan's economy because it's a tax drain. According to a report by Employment Research Associates (ERA), if just half of that military tax drain was returned to Michigan, we could recirculate $3.3 billion in our economy. We could reduce state and local property taxes 40% ($1.9 billion), $440 million could go to Michigan colleges anduniversities, 25,OO0new jobs (see STATE, page 11) O I A I b (from page 6) for teachers, pólice, and firemen could be created ($700 million) and 8,000 jobs for construction workers could be created for rebuilding the state's infrastructure including roads, bridges, and sewage facilities ($260 million). When you look at the huge military budget, approximately S365 billion a year, you can consider how the money might be better spent. For instance, one A6E intruder (attack plane) at $23 million would cover the annual cost of a staff of 200 to plan mutual reversal of the arms race, and the conversión of the military economy to a civilian economy. Now that we live in a world that can be destroyed 67 times by our nuclear weapons we need a plan to provide us with a more socially just economy and world. SANEFREEZE advocates the following steps: 1. a bilateral nuclear weapons freeze, 2. a noninterventionist foreign policy, and 3. a national commitment to strengthening our civilian industrial base. The conversión can be put in place by incremental steps such as the establishment of altérnate use planning committees, with labor, management and community representation at every major military contractor, facility or community heavily dependent on the military. These committtees would assess plant equipment, skills of the workforce, market conditions, and plan altérnate uses for them. The money saved from a reduction in massi ve military spending can be used to stimulate industrial growth. This can be done through tax incentives, some direct grants, and the strengthening of our federal civilian research and the development programs to encourage the scientific community to work for the solution of basic problems challenging our society. This planning model has already been successfully implemented in Briiain where the Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Stewards, representing 12,000 workers in Britain's largest defense firm, developed 150 new products and challenged their management and the British government to begin work on some of them. In the U.S., the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) the nation's largest union of defense workers, has come out strongly for conversión and is now developing a shop stewards' training course, modeled after the Lucas workers, to equip themselves to make conversión an issue in the collective bargaining process. At this time of massive militarization of our society, projects such as these are the necessary hope for future change. They are the essence of the conversión process. ■iiiiii.ii.i.ijiuuj.'imiii


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