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Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The cost of war: a local example

Just last week, Rep. Mike Honda from San Jose, who most would describe as "antiwar" and a "liberal," voted for $68 billion more to fund the war and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan (as did Zoe Lofgren, the other local representative, who is also seen as an antiwar liberal). Yesterday, he was in town, speaking to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and calling for the voters of Santa Clara County to vote for a proposed 1/2 cent sales tax increase, intended to fund mass transportation (BART) and other similar social needs.

This provides us with an excellent opportunity, on a local level which could no doubt be reproduced in every county of the United States, to do some math. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors estimates that tax increase will bring in between $154 and $170 million/year. But the Santa Clara County share of the $68 billion that Honda just voted to pay to continue the war and occupation is $667 million (estimated via Cost of War), four times as much. Wouldn't it be nice if Mike Honda and the rest of the Congress would willingly vote money for BART and other human needs, and put the funding for the war on the ballot so the people could vote on that instead?

The truth is, there is more than enough money to pay for transportation, health care, education, and other social needs. The people of Santa Clara County have already spent more than $2.4 billion on this illegal war, more than $4000 per household. There's no need to change the tax rate. Just the priorities.

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