[America’s Military Spending]
Heather Gray\Jonathan King: “The nation’s wealth has been mis-allocated between military and civilian needs over the past four decades…This mis-appropriation began in the 80’s.”
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America’s obscene military spending has left us vulnerable in our current fight against COVID-19.

How is it that in the richest nation on Earth we don’t have enough masks, gowns, virus tests, and ventilators to serve our front-line healthcare providers in this coronavirus pandemic?

Part of the answer is that the nation’s wealth has been mis-allocated between military and civilian needs over the past four decades.

All of the budgets that President Trump has submitted to Congress have called not only for enormous tax cuts for the wealthy, and resisting expanding Medicare access, but for cutting funding to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Center for Disease Control – agencies critical for the nation’s response to new infectious agents. Even though the administration has espoused an isolationist foreign policy, its rationale was the need to transfer our tax dollars to the Pentagon budget. But these are precisely the programs the nation needs in order to develop the tests, vaccines and therapies needed to control the coronavirus pandemic.

These budget choices have hobbled biomedical scientists in key colleges, universities and medical centers in Massachusetts – leaders in biomedical research and development – and across the nation, from preparing and mobilizing for such outbreaks. And, of course, the failure to invest in healthcare and hospitals have left millions of Americans without adequate care.

Re-Militarization and Its Response

This mis-appropriation began in the 80’s, when in the name of combating the USSR – the “evil empire” – the Reagan administration sharply ramped up military spending. This was partially financed by cutting the budgets of the War on Poverty and Great Society programs established in the 60’s under President Johnson.

We responded by organizing the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign which led to President Ronald Reagan meeting with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and both leaders signing the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Weapons. Though this was a significant step forward in lowering international tensions, it didn’t help the millions of Americans who needed support for housing, healthcare, or education.

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