housing program cuts fund increased military spending FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 12:45:21 -0700 (PDT)


FWD via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the April 16, 1998
issue of Workers World newspaper
-------------------------

PENTAGON GETS BILLIONS MORE:

MILITARY PORK COMES FROM
HOUSING CUTS

By Gary Wilson

Congress is quietly, almost secretly, increasing military
spending while cutting back on social programs in order to
"pay for it."

On March 31, the House of Representatives voted to cut
low-income housing assistance, bilingual education programs,
airport modernization funds and other domestic social
programs to pay an additional $2 billion for military
operations in Iraq and Bosnia.

As it stands, the bill would force 800,000 Section 8
housing recipients onto the street next year.

The Senate has already passed a similar bill.

While the Democrats mostly voted against the bill, and the
White House is threatening a veto, their opposition is only
to making the cuts. There has been no voice of opposition to
the constantly expanding military budget.

The cuts are draconian and must be stopped, say
progressive activists. Workers' organizations, including
welfare rights groups, have been the most vocal opponents of
the proposed cuts. "If anyone should be made homeless, it's
Congress," commented a workfare union organizer in New York.

WHY THEY CAN'T WIN

The Democrats fail to effectively oppose the cuts because
they are firmly committed to the Pentagon's military
operations against Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. In fact,
Democrats have been some of the most vocal champions of
these military operations.

This leaves them vulnerable to the right-wing's solutions.
If military spending must be increased, the funds have to
come from somewhere. Both Democrats and Republicans are
firmly opposed to increasing taxes on profits. So the only
way to increase military spending is by cutting services.

So even though the Democrats claim to be against the cuts,
they set themselves up to always lose the argument.

What's at issue is the military's ever-expanding budget.
The official budget figure has been and will continue to be
a falsehood. Secret increases and additional funds hidden in
other budgets have made military spending well over half--
close to three-quarters--of all government spending in the
United States.

Driving this demonic spending spree are the forces of
imperialism--the stage of capitalism dominated by huge banks
and corporations.

The military-industrial complex that emerg ed in the
United States after World War II now virtually dictates
government policy. According to a report in the March 30 New
York Times, the money the military industry spends to buy
Congress--through campaign contributions and "lobbying"--
dwarfs that spent by all other industries.

The top four dozen military contractors gave congressional
candidates $32.3 million in the period 1991 to 1997. The
tobacco industry, commonly presented by the media as the top
contributor to congressional campaigns, spent $26.9 million
in the same period, the Times reported.

The top six companies alone--Lockheed Martin, Northrop
Grumman, Textron Inc., Raytheon, Boeing and McDonnell
Douglas--gave Democrats and Republicans more than $15
million over the last six years. This has guaranteed that
big weapons projects have not been cut. In fact, they've
been expanded at a time when everything else was being cut.

These weapons systems are for one purpose: military
operations like the U.S. occupation armies in the Balkans
and the massive strike force that continues to surround
Iraq.

Any politician who really is against cuts in housing for
the poor can't vote for military expansion and operations
against Iraq and Yugoslavia.

                         - END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Permission to reprint
granted if source is cited. For more information contact
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail:
ww@workers.org. For subscription info send message to:
info@workers.org. Web: http://workers.org)

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