Op Ed Commentary
I am writing this to not only all the city council members throughout the towns of my county of Volusia, Florida, but to you, its citizens out there. Look around you. See that, since 2006, the fine and important library system of our county has had its budget cut by nearly 33 %! All of the services: firefighting, policing, hospital care, education… everything we need more of is going down, not up! City and County governments think that this will help ease the pain of fiscal shortfalls. Oh yes, why not just sell the library system off to big corporations and our firefighting and policing too? Why not just make this society into one big corporate fiefdom, like the great film Rollerball portrayed?
Our local elected officials have all those meetings to try to trim the budgets here and there, to make up for the lack of funds. Yet, the solution to it all is literally staring them in the eyes… if they would only open them. In years past, a percentage of what cities and states sent to Uncle Sam in form of federal income taxes would come back as revenue sharing. The Congress would vote on appropriations to send back to localities as Federal Block Grants for our roads, schools, libraries, police and firefighting, ambulances, hospitals, food stamps… and on and on. These block grants did not have to be repaid, by the way. If my town had needs for the public good, Uncle Sam could help solve those needs. No more! Why? Well, it seems that military spending these past few decades has gone from 30% of our tax dollars to over 50% ( actually it hit around 56% in fiscal year 2011 ). You think those two invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, along with our nearly 900 bases worldwide, was free? The so called ‘ War on Terror ‘ costs us not only our hard earned tax money, but our good name worldwide. Bottom line: If the majority of the peoples of the world think that America is nothing more than a military empire… as Ed Norton said in the Honeymooners “ Maybe the phrase fits! “
This writer and local activist has appeared two times in front of my local city council on the subject of cutting the military spending to save our cities. I explained the aforementioned situation and offered a solution: The 25% Solution. As other cities across America have been doing, my city council could send along a resolution to the Congress and President demanding that 25% of the military spending should be cut ASAP and the savings sent back to the states and their cities to help with the budget shortfalls. I explained to them that, with this formula of true fiscal responsibility, my city of around 55,000 would see a return of at least 70 million dollars a year. Even if only half of that money returned to us, imagine what my town could do with 35 million dollars each year? Well, I asked for a town hall meeting to have we the citizens discuss and debate this idea… to no avail!
So as long as my neighbors keep on buying into the lies and misinformation about what in the hell we are doing all over this planet with our fine young soldiers… the cost of it all will continue to drown us in tears of insolvency and destruction. How many of my city council members remember me informing them that it costs we taxpayers over one million dollars per year to keep one soldier in Afghanistan? How many police and fire personnel, school teachers or library books could that pay for? Sad that our leaders, locally and nationally are following the empire right over the cliffs of reason… and many of you out there are not far behind.
Philip A Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn, NYC longshoremen. He is a free lance columnist (found on TheSleuthJournal.com, The Intrepid Report, The Peoples Voice, Information Clearing house, Dandelion Salad, Activist Post, Dissident Voice and many other sites worldwide). Philip works as an environmental products sales rep and has been an activist leader since 2000. In 2010 he became a local spokesperson for the 25% Solution Movement to Save Our Cities by cutting military spending 25%. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org