Freeze the Nukes, Fund the Future
Author: Ed Markey
Originally Published at Peace and Conflict Monitor on: 10/05/2011
Dear Members of the Super Committee:
The Berlin Wall fell. The Soviet Union crumbled. The Cold
War ended. Yet 20 years later, we continue to spend over $50 billion a year on
the U.S. nuclear arsenal. This makes no sense. These funds are a drain on our
budget and a disservice to the next generation of Americans. We are robbing
the future to pay for the unneeded weapons of the past. Now is the time to
stop fighting last century’s war. Now is the time to reset our priorities.
Now is the time to invest in the people and the programs to get America back on
The Super Committee is best positioned to cut this outdated
radioactive relic. The Soviets are long gone, yet the stockpiles remain. The
bombs collect dust, yet the bills are with us to this day. We call on the
Super Committee to cut $20 billion a year, or $200 billion over the next ten
years, from the U.S. nuclear weapons budget. This cut will enable us to stay
safe without further straining our budget. This cut will improve our
security. This cut will allow us to continue funding the national defense
programs that matter most.
Consider how this savings compares to vital programs on
which Americans rely. We spend approximately $20 billion per year on Pell
Grants to help students pay for college. We spend $5 billion to ensure that
Americans do not freeze in their homes during the winter. We need to freeze
our nuclear weapons, and fuel our stalled economy.
The Ploughshares Fund estimates that the U.S. will spend
over $700 billion on nuclear weapons and related programs over the next ten
years. Nuclear weapons and missile defense alone will consume over $500
billion. We can no longer justify spending at these levels. We can save
hundreds of billions of dollars by restructuring the U.S. nuclear program for
the 21st century.
Our current arsenal totals approximately 5,000 nuclear
warheads. This enormous stockpile will allow us to annihilate our enemies
countless times. At any one time there are up to 12 Trident submarines
cruising the world’s seas. Each submarine carries an estimated 96 nuclear
warheads. Each submarine is capable of destroying all of Russia’s and China’s
major cities. Why then do we need all of these weapons? There is no good
reason. America no longer needs, and cannot afford, this massive firepower.
The Super Committee should not reduce funding to vital
programs relied upon by millions of Americans. Cut Minuteman missiles. Do not
cut Medicare and Medicaid. Cut nuclear-armed B-52 and B-2 bombers. Do not cut
Social Security. Invest in the future, don’t waste money on the past.
We do not need to maintain our current level of nuclear
weapons to secure our country. The President agrees. The Senate agrees. The
New START treaty will reduce our level of deployed strategic warheads to
1,550. This is a 25 percent cut from today’s levels. Fewer nuclear weapons
should equal less funding.
We should not cut entitlement programs first. We should not
target our seniors, our children, and our sick first. Instead we should target
outdated and unnecessary nuclear weapons. Let’s freeze the nukes so we can
fund the future.
Rep. Ed Markey
representative of the 7th District in the State of
Bio: Ed Markey is a congressman in the US governement. http://markey.house.gov/