Cut defense budget, not Social Security

Cut defense budget, not Social Security

President Barack Obama has proposed to cut Social Security and veterans' benefits by reducing cost-of-living increases, using the "chained CPI." The Congressional Budget Office says that cutting Social Security and veterans' benefits this way would save the government $163 billion over 10 years. Meanwhile, President Obama proposed to mostly spare the Pentagon budget from the $500 billion worth of cuts over 10 years expected under the Budget Control Act.

This reflects the wrong priorities. If we want to save money, it would be wiser to cut the bloated Pentagon budget. At current rates of spending, $163 billion would pay for two more years of the Afghanistan war. $163 billion would pay for just over 10 percent of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, whose overall projected cost is $1.5 trillion. $163 billion is less than half of what the Pentagon spends every year on contracting, although studies show that contractors are paid more than twice as much as the Pentagon's civilian employees for the same work.

On Thursday, April 25, MoveOn members across the country are going to be delivering petitions to Congress with tens of thousands of signatures demanding that Congress cut the bloated Pentagon budget instead of Social Security and veterans' benefits. In Champaign, we'll be meeting at the office of Rep. Rodney Davis at noon. Others will deliver petitions to Sen Dick Durbin's office in Springfield.

It's time to reorient federal priorities, putting seniors, veterans and the disabled ahead of Pentagon contractors.

ROBERT NAIMAN

Urbana

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