As we try to recover from the debacle that was/is the debt ceiling debate we should do some housecleaning and take a serious look at where our priorities lie in these challenging economic times.
Here is a link to a chart posted by the Economist, depicting how much of our tax dollars are spent on the military. According to Climate Progress,”Instead of military spending that is “bigger than that of the next 17 countries combined,” we might only have a military budget that is bigger than the next 15 countries combined.” Yes, we need a military but we also need healthy families, communities, and environment. Big cuts are planned for federal programs. Yet oil companies continue to get billions in oil subsides from us, the taxpayers, while making billions in profit every quarter.
In July, the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee approved $461 million for international family planning and reproductive health programs. This amounts to a 25% cut in U.S. international family planning assistance for the 2012 fiscal year.
You may not believe it, but there has been some good news recently on womens’ rights and family planning – U.S. health insurance companies must now offer women free birth control and other preventive health care services. This is big news for women’s healthcare.
Health, education, and renewable energy. These are just a few sectors on which we should focus our attention. Heck, maybe even create a few jobs in these areas and build healthy, vibrant communities. Just a sampling of news this week reflects how other countries are investing in a cleaner future. The UK is becoming a leader in offshore wind farms. Germany is increasing investment in clean-energy technology research by about 75 percent and plans to get out of nuclear generation by 2022.
And in India, local companies are taking the lead in providing access to sustainable, low-cost energy aimed at reducing poverty. You can read more here about Indian companies that are making use of the country’s abundant sunshine, biomass, and waste to power rural villages.
The news from our nation’s capital has been hard to take and it’s only going to get worse as we get closer to the 2012 elections. Knowing that other countries, not to mention our own communities, such as Oakland, are moving forward with positive initiatives should give us hope and distract us in a good way from partisan politics.