write letters re US Federal Budget Priorities - FCNL [Quaker] FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 7 Apr 1998 00:21:26 -0700 (PDT)


FWD
Subject:      FCNL April letter writing
From:         Pam Rider <prider@tsktsk.com>
Date:         1998/04/01
Message-ID:   <6ftobu$bjn$1@volt.electriciti.com>
Newsgroups:   soc.religion.quaker




         FCNL LEGISLATIVE LETTER-WRITING PROJECT
                        APRIL 1998

The following is the Friends Committee on National
Legislation (FCNL) Letter Writing package for the coming
month.  It includes background information on an item of
legislation which Congress is likely to consider this
session. It also includes a sample letter containing
ideas which you may want to communicate to your
legislators.  This package is intended as a supplement to
other FCNL materials and does not reflect FCNL's complete
policy position on any issue, nor does it include all
pertinent facts on any topic.

The topic of the Letter Writing for April is Federal
Budget Priorities.


                FEDERAL BUDGET PRIORITIES

The United States is the world's wealthiest nation.  It
accounts for more than 26% of the world's Gross Domestic
Product.  Pres. Clinton's proposed FY99 budget allocates
$1.7 trillion.

Just as an individual's spending choices are a statement
of individual values, the U.S. budget may be considered a
statement of national values.  However, this statement is
developed by the Administration and Congress and may not
fully reflect the values of many in the U.S.

President Clinton's FY99 budget proposes more than $270
billion in military spending ($1.37 trillion over the
next five years).  Despite the end of the Cold War,
current trends in U.S. military spending will result in
end-of-the-decade expenditure levels which are 80% of
Cold War levels.

The U. S. spends more on "defense" than the next eight
highest spending countries combined.  Pentagon planners
argue that the U.S. must be prepared to fight,
simultaneously, major wars on two fronts.  But U.S.
military spending is 10 times greater than the combined
expenditures of  "rogue" states, such as Libya, North
Korea, and Iraq, plus Iran, Cuba, and China, all of the
potential U.S. adversaries imaginable.  Who, then, are we
protecting ourselves against.?

Despite the extraordinary levels of military
expenditures, the U.S. contribution to global
peacekeeping is disproportionately small.  In 1997, the
U.S. contributed less than 5% of the soldiers involved in
UN peacekeeping duty.  During that same year, less than
one-tenth of one percent of the Pentagon budget went to
peacekeeping operations.

In the meantime, in the U.S. and around the world, human
needs go unmet.  In the U.S., more than 30 million people
suffer from hunger or the threat of hunger.  Over 40% of
these are children.  On any given night in the U.S.,
750,000 people are homeless.  Homelessness, like hunger,
disproportionately affects children and families with
children.  About 10 million children lack the insurance
coverage to enable them to access preventive health care
and treatment.

Globally, millions of people   many of them young
children   die of water-borne infectious diseases
because they do not have access to safe water supplies.
Tuberculosis, at current rates, is expected to kill 30
million people in the next ten years, even though
effective treatments exist.

The President's proposed FY99 budget expresses the values
of a country more concerned with accumulating armaments,
than with relieving human suffering.  It ignores the real
connection between the well-being of other countries and
their peoples and the security of the U.S.

At home and abroad, unmet human needs breed despair and
rob our nation and the world of precious human resources.
The disparity between those individuals and nations which
suffer the burden of deprivation and those which enjoy a
comfortable standard of living breeds violence, and war.
It is despair, lost human potential, and violence which
pose the real threats to U.S. security from within and
without.

It does not have to be this way.  A federal budget with
appropriate spending priorities could meet human needs at
home, could contribute significantly more to meeting
needs abroad, and would lead to greater human security
for people in the U.S. and all over the world.


            Legislative Letter Writing Campaign
                Focus Issue for April 1998

             SHIFT  FEDERAL BUDGET PRIORITIES

We encourage you to use this information to write a
message in your own words.  Following is an example of
such a letter. WE SUGGEST THAT YOUR MESSAGE INCLUDE THE
INFORMATION WHICH IS CAPITALIZED.  If you wish, you can
raise FCNL's visibility in congressional offices by
mentioning the Friends Committee on National Legislation
in your letter.

    Sample Message to your Senators and Representative

Sen. ________                 Rep. _________
U.S. Senate                        U.S. House of
                                   Representatives
Washington, DC 20510               Washington, DC 25015


Dear Sen. _________:               Dear Rep. ________:

I AM WRITING TO EXPRESS MY CONCERN OVER THE SPENDING
PRIORITIES REFLECTED IN THE PROPOSED FY99 FEDERAL BUDGET.
I FEEL THAT THIS BUDGET DOES NOT REFLECT MY VALUES OR
THOSE OF MANY OTHERS IN THE U.S.

President Clinton's FY99 budget proposes more than $270
billion in military spending.  Over the next five years,
this amounts to an expenditure of $1.37 trillion.  On the
one hand, the U. S. spends more on "defense" than the
next eight highest spending countries combined.   U.S.
military spending is 10 times greater than the combined
expenditures of all potential U.S. adversaries
imaginable.  On the other hand, the U.S. contribution to
global peacekeeping is disproportionately small.  In
1997, the U.S. contributed less than 5% of the soldiers
involved in UN peacekeeping duty.  During that same year,
less than one-tenth of one percent of the Pentagon budget
went to peacekeeping operations.  In the meantime, in the
U.S. and around the world, human needs go unmet.  The
disparity between those individuals and nations which
suffer the burden of deprivation and those which enjoy a
comfortable standard of living breeds violence, and war.
It is despair, lost human potential, and violence which
pose the real threats to U.S. security from within and
without.

I URGE YOU TO SUPPORT MEASURES WHICH WOULD (1) REDUCE OR
FREEZE MILITARY SPENDING, (2) INCREASE SPENDING FOR
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, AND (3) BETTER MEET HUMAN
NEEDS AT HOME AND ABROAD.  BY DOING SO, YOU WILL BE
HELPING TO PROMOTE NOT ONLY THE GENERAL WELFARE, BUT ALSO
HUMAN SECURITY AND STABILITY WORLDWIDE.

Sincerely,



This concludes the letter-writing project information for
this month. For further information, please contact FCNL
directly to request the FCNL Washington Newsletter and
other background documents (see address below).  Not all
of these documents are available electronically at
present.

This message may be found regularly on PeaceNet in the
fcnl.updates conference and is also distributed regularly
via the FCNL-News mailing list.  If you would like to
subscribe to this list, send an e-mail message To:
Majordomo@igc.apc.org
The message should read:
"Subscribe FCNL-News" (without the quotes)

PLEASE NOTE:  Make sure that you are sending this message
from the e-mail address to which you would like FCNL-News
materials to be sent (ie. don't send it from your work e-
mail address and expect things to be sent to your home e-
mail address)

If you currently receive this message via the FCNL-News
mailing list and are no longer interested in receiving
messages from this list, you should do the following:
Send an e-mail message TO:  Majordomo@igc.apc.org
The message should read:  "Unsubscribe FCNL-News"
(without the quotes)

Though new technologies are allowing us to distribute
information more widely, FCNL still won't have the
resources to engage individuals in dialogue over the
"net".  If you have comments, questions, or corrections
relating to FCNL informational materials, please call or
write us at:  (202) 547-6000 or FCNL 245 2nd Street NE,
Washington D.C. 20002 (or fcnl@igc.apc.org).

To participate in developing FCNL's policy positions, it
is best to season your concerns with your Friends meeting
or church, and then with your yearly meeting's appointees
to FCNL's General Committee.  The General Committee, with
the help of its Policy Committee, revises and approves
FCNL's Statement of Legislative Policy in a careful six-
year process of consultation with Friends.

END FORWARD


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page
ARCHIVES  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN
TO JOIN  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <wgcp@earthlink.net>