Convention Resolution

Resolution 32: Our Nation Needs New Priorities: Cut Pentagon Spending to Invest in Our People and Communities

Submitted by the South Central (Wis.) Federation of Labor

Referred to the Resolutions Committee

WHEREAS, Congress is embroiled in a continuing battle over spending priorities that threatens to eviscerate essential government programs in the non-defense discretionary budget, such as air traffic controllers, workplace safety and health, Head Start and other education aid, the diplomatic service, housing, environmental protection, medical research, public safety and innumerable other essential programs, services and government functions; and

WHEREAS, since 2002 military spending has grown by 35% (48% if you include war costs)—a rate that is more than four times the growth in domestic discretionary spending, which increased by only 8% over the same period; and

WHEREAS, the military budget now accounts for 57% of all discretionary spending, and U.S. military spending now accounts for 42% of all global military spending, is five times that of China, the next highest, and exceeds the combined military spending of the next fourteen countries; and

WHEREAS, the war in Afghanistan continues to cost over $100 billion a year, a significant portion of which is lost to corruption, fraud, waste and abuse; and

WHEREAS, our economic policies must create millions more jobs but money spent on the military creates many fewer jobs than the same money spent on education, health care, and clean energy; and

WHEREAS, the problem of terrorism is more effectively handled by police and intelligence activity, choking off financing, diplomacy, development aid and other non-military means; and

WHEREAS, true national security must include security in people’s health, education, employment, retirement, food and environment, as well as a functioning modern infrastructure to support sustainable economic activity; therefore be it:

RESOLVED, that the AFL-CIO calls upon the Congress and President to end the war in Afghanistan with a rapid and full drawdown of military forces to be completed by the end of this year; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the AFL-CIO calls for a change in the nation’s course and priorities to endorsing a national budgetary strategy that increases tax revenues from the wealthy and large corporations, cuts military spending by the amount consistent with true security, creates stable jobs at living wages, safeguards and strengthens the myriad useful functions the federal government undertakes, and preserves the integrity of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social safety net programs on which millions of the elderly, children, disabled and others depend; and be it further:

RESOLVED, that the AFL-CIO calls for cuts in the military budget to be accompanied by federal policies to use money now devoted to weapons production to support conversion of military jobs to civilian purposes and enhance manufacturing, construction and other economic activity that can absorb the labor force now employed in the defense sector of the economy, and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the AFL-CIO will undertake an educational campaign on these issues among its membership and seek to involve the members in the political tasks necessary to implement this resolution in public policy.