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Posted by: Doug Henwood | June 4, 2012

Raid the Pentagon budget, do good works

A friend posted an item to Facebook, pointing out that it would cost C$5 billion a year to provide free university to all Canadians, a fraction of the country’s $24 billion military budget. I thought translating this into American would be a useful exercise. Here goes:

Translating this in to American: We spend about $845 billion on the military, and personal expenditures on higher ed are about $165 billion. So for 20% of the military budget we could make higher ed free to individuals.

But that’s not all. The old rule of thumb for Canadian/American equivalence is to multiply Canadian numbers by 10. So if the U.S. had a Canadian-sized military, we’d be spending $240 billion, less than a third what we do spend. The difference could fund, along with the free higher ed ($165 billion), universal child care (about $75 billion/yr)—and we’d still have $345 billion left over. We could bring the officially poor up to the poverty line for another $150 billion or so, leaving almost $200 billion for, oh, I don’t know, clean energy R&D, high-speed rail, and public installations of beauty.

I didn’t mention health care, since that’s a story to itself. Public health spending alone (via Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) in the U.S. is on a par with the entire health budget, public plus private, in many countries with more sane systems. If you combine public and private spending in the U.S. and convert to a single-payer system, we could provide platinum-plated universal care to everyone.

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Responses

  1. I will do whatever i can to stop government military spending unless it is truely national defence. The economy can be saved if we stop spending invauable tax payer money to intemidate and force our opinion on the world. Please contact me about things i can do to help. Informing the public isnt going to do it at this point. Serious action has to be taken to help us from getting into an economic situation we cant dig ourselves out of

  2. http://www.globalteachin.com took up the theme of redirecting military budget resources towards a variety of civilian needs.


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