Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Public ahead of policymakers on defense spending

To the editor:

The National Priorities Project in Northampton reports that in 2012 defense spending was close to 60 percent of our federal government’s discretionary budget. Clearly, defense spending needs to be cut. President Obama proposes to cut it by just 0.7 percent, and Gov. Mitt Romney plans to increase Pentagon spending by 17 percent.

A recent survey, “Consulting the American People on National Defense Spending” by the Program for Public Consultation, the Stimson Center and the Center for Public Integrity shows that ordinary Americans want to cut our nation’s defense budget by 18 percent. Voters in districts with the most defense spending were “no less willing” to cut such spending than those in districts with low defense spending.

Once again the American people are way out in front of our policymakers. The majority of Americans understand that we should fund only the defense programs that make us safer, not add to outdated or wasteful programs driven by lobbyists and defense contractors.

The American people will have a chance to speak for themselves on the issue of defense spending in the November election. Increase or decrease? I’m with the majority on this one.

Lois Barber

Amherst

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