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Use the billions elsewhere

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The real U.S. economic problem is war spending! “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Oct. 16, reported that the U.S. Government is spending $200 million per day in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, or close to $2 billion per week. The National Priorities Project, an Amherst-Mass.-based group, confirmed that the total money spent is $255 million per day, or a little less than $1.8 billion a week. Defense contractors continue to make record profits and continue to lobby for more war efforts. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist and Harvard public finance lecturer Linda J. Bilmes report that the spending is actually $720 million per week, which breaks down into $280 million a day from Iraq war supplementary funding bills passed by Congress, plus $440 million daily in incurred, but unpaid, long-term costs, according to the group’s analysis. “Stars and Stripes,” the military news magazine, reports that as of May 2011, U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq totaled $9.7 billion a month. Do you think it is time to stop supporting the wars? We continue to create terrorists faster than we can kill them. Just think of what the United States could do with that money to rebuild schools, highways, establish a national health care system and re-open libraries. The U.S. could retire its debt with China, establish job programs for the unemployed and job training for inmates, and re-open and upgrade state and national parks. The problem is also with the U.S. Congress, who are mostly millionaires, who are more concerned with selling congressional favors and legislation to big corporations in exchange for campaign financing to get re-elected. The Republicans’ stubborn plan to reduce taxes on the rich in order to “stimulate the economy” is a lie. President Bush lowered taxes on the rich for eight years and the money did not “trickle down” per (President) Reagan’s idea to create jobs, but the rich are hoarding their money and the economy has stagnated. The U.S. does not need to be in the Middle East. We do not need to protect oil companies’ interests, nor the interests of defense contractors who continue to reap obscene profits from war expenditures. If we really do support our troops, bring them home immediately, for them and for our country. Joe Marman, Auburn