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Budgets Are Moral Documents: Nuclear Weapons Funding and COVID-19 Response

We are one interconnected human family on this planet and at long last, it is time to recognize this fact. The cessation of funding and elimination of nuclear weapons would be a good-faith step in recognizing this reality.

As physicians and health practitioners we have warned for decades about the existential threats of nuclear war and climate change and vulnerability to global pandemics. (Photo: Scott Howe/DVIDS)

As physicians and health practitioners we have warned for decades about the existential threats of nuclear war and climate change and vulnerability to global pandemics. (Photo: Scott Howe/DVIDS)

April 15 is the day we traditionally know as tax day, the day when we fund our nation’s priorities.  It is also the time we fund the nuclear arms race that is spiraling out of control. This year tax day has been put on pause as much of the world has. As the world addresses the global health crisis of COVID-19, our country has the opportunity to reassess our priorities through the lens of caring for one another and basic human needs. For ultimately in the words of theologian Jim Wallis, of Sojourners magazine, “Budgets are moral documents.” How does this year‘s budget address those health and economic needs and inequalities which are so readily apparent at this time.

As our nation grapples with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, we continue to fund nuclear weapons programs in the amount of 67.595 billion dollars for fiscal year 2020.

As our nation grapples with the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, we continue to fund nuclear weapons programs in the amount of 67.595 billion dollars for fiscal year 2020. This deprives cities, counties and states across the nation of critical funds in the midst of this health crisis. Large states like New York are spending in excess of 41/2 billion dollars and California spending over $8.7 billion on nuclear weapons programs robbing our treasuries of critical funds necessary at this time. The economically challenged city of Flint, Michigan dealing with their own COVID-19 cases and healing from their water crisis of the last decade will spend $9.6 million. Where is the sanity?

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As physicians and health practitioners we have warned for decades about the existential threats of nuclear war and climate change and vulnerability to global pandemics. These threats are real and happening now.

This is a 9-11 moment when the whole world is ONE. We failed to recognize this after  9-11 entering into the most protracted, expensive and deadly war in our nation’s history. Let this not be a time when similar errors in response are made. We are one interconnected human family on this planet and at long last it is time to recognize this fact. The cessation of funding and elimination of nuclear weapons would be a good faith step in recognizing this reality.

Robert Dodge

Robert Dodge

Robert Dodge, a frequentCommon Dreams contributor, writes as a family physician practicing in Ventura, California. He is the Co-Chair of the Security Committee of National Physicians for Social Responsibility and also serves as the President of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles.

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