Minnesota is struggling with an incredibly challenging budget deficit. There are no easy solutions. That’s why it’s important for Minnesota and its entire public to weigh in on how the federal government spends our hard-earned tax dollars.
Minnesotans contribute significantly to the federal budget, and the federal government provides significant revenue to the state budget. Federal spending deserves our attention. State and Local elected officials can help their constituents by advocating for their interests, even though policies are not under their direct control.
The cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars and our nation's military is enormous, yet we don't talk about it as we face our state and national economic woes. John Marty will continue to raise the questions about priorities and ask how we as Minnesotans can respond to national events.
President Dwight Eisenhower expressed deep concern about what he called "the military industrial complex," stating, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed....This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children."
Today, we can see that the endless war has a real cost here at home. For the first time in our history, we are losing ground: high school students today have a lower graduation rate than their parents’ generation. Fewer young adults have access to health care than their parents have. Today's workers will be less likely to have a decent pension than their parents enjoy.
John will continue to speak out on the need for the federal government to shift its spending priorities -- to spend less on war and more on our community needs. Instead of bailing out Wall Street executives and spending excessively on wars, investment in states for education, health care, transportation, public safety and other needs would serve ordinary people better.
How much is at stake? In addition to the incredible sacrifices made by so many military families, Minnesota's share of total military spending, including the two wars, is almost $12 billion every year.That's two-thirds as large as our entire state general fund budget of roughly $17 billion a year.
Having worked with Minnesota’s budget for over two decades, John Marty knows what even a small portion of those Minnesota taxpayer dollars could do in our communities. We could have avoided layoffs of teachers, police, firefighters, and health care workers. Minnesota dollars could be invested in living wage jobs, nursing homes for seniors, early childhood and helping at-risk kids succeed, and in public infrastructure.
John Marty will continue working to reinvest in Minnesota. Because federal spending priorities have such a great impact, John won't shy away from urging our state leaders to engage officials in Washington, speaking out for Minnesota for responsible federal spending of our tax dollars. It’s our money, and it is time that we are part of the conversation.