Peace Dividend

Peace Dividend (As amended at the March 2017 General Assembly)

Green philosophy emphasizes the need to enable people to meet basic needs of quality food, housing, health care, equal opportunity, education and employment. Our country needs economic and social revitalization that can only be achieved through sane resource use and future-focused planning.

Use of resources to meet basic human needs has long been sacrificed to pay for a huge military budget. This level of military spending is the result of a bloated defense budget based on unrealistic assessments of foreign military threats, inefficient and wasteful procurement practices, self-serving competition between different branches of the military and duplication of military functions. Local economies have become so dependent on military spending that "pork-barrel" legislation has become an accepted practice.

About one third of the national budget is discretionary spending (non-discretionary spending is mostly entitlement programs mandated by law). Military spending accounts for more than half of all discretionary spending. This means that the combined budget for all other programs in all other agencies and departments is less than what the military is getting.
To fund the wars in the Middle East and the "war on terrorism" post September 11, the level of spending is roughly equal to the combined defense budgets of the next 15 largest militarized countries. This war money comes at the expense of funding for social programs and international assistance.

The Green Party advocates a major shift in the allocation of resources:

• Redefine the military's role in the light of post-Cold War circumstances, multi-national economics and the emergence of developing nations.

• Develop a new national defense policy with participation by citizen and governmental representatives as well as the military.

• Reduce military spending to 25% of Cold War levels. Several studies supported the possibility of reducing such expenditures by 50% during the USSR's waning years. Today, no superpower threats justify even that spending level. While a 75% reduction is an arbitrary target, the Government and military should be made to explain to citizens why more is needed.

• Stop funding the Ballistic Missile Defense system. An intercontinental ballistic missile is not the weapon of choice for a terrorist organization or a developing country. With the demise of the cold war and the growth of global economic interdependence, no industrialized nation poses a threat of an all-out invasion of the U.S. Furthermore, the current missile defense schemes cannot be proved to work since they cannot be tested against real targets, and they remain vulnerable to countermeasures and decoys.

• Distribute the resulting "peace dividend," in part, to state and local governments to handle the multitude of neglected problems in social welfare, the environment and the economy.

• Simplify and decentralize the military procurement system, and consolidate military functions to eliminate duplication.

• Eliminate the use of drones.

This revision was passed at the Bakersfield General Assembly March 12, 2017.