Students, Unite! (fwd)

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Mon Feb 17 18:09:27 EST 1997

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 1997 14:41:34 +0000
From: "Dr. Ruben Botello" <sananda at>
Subject: Students, Unite!

  *PLEASE FORWARD*                                revised: 2/7/97

  Dear Students and Faculty Members:

     Congress and the President have begun to wake up on budget priorities!
  Some of the worst Republican student-aid cuts were reversed in October by
  Congress, and the President yesterday proposed the first significant
  increases in education and housing spending in over a decade!

     However, rather then get the money from parts of the budget where there
  is plenty of fat to cut, politicians are planning raids on entitlement
  programs, such as Medicare and Social Security -- pitting the interests of
  young and homeless people against elderly folks.

     There is no need for this.  The United States, as the richest country in
  the world, has the resources to provide basic income security to those of
  us facing harsh economic trends.  If we cut $125 billion from corporate
  welfare, cut $75 billion from military forces we no longer need, and tax
  the windfall a few are receiving from corporate downsizing, our government
  would run a surplus.  Yet the rejoinder we hear time and time again is that
  we need to make deep cuts in social programs in order to "balance the

     For this reason, the Center for Campus Organizing, the Student Peace
  Action Network, the US Student Association, Youth for Democratic Action,
  20/20 Vision, Women's Action for New Directions, the Campaign for New
  Priorities, and over 20 grassroots peace and justice groups on college
  campuses have joined together to circulate a "Petition for New Priorities."

     We ask you to join in this effort.  All it takes is a group with 5 or
  six people to stand in a public place for two or three days near lunchtime
  to collect signatures.  Then, you can use the support you find to generate
  some publicity which will put heat on local politicians to support balanced
  budget priorities.  For example, you can ask your local Congressperson to
  sign the petition; if he or she refuses then you can raise public awareness
  about how they have sold out to corporate interests.

     Here are the schools involved so far.  To get your petition kit, please
  call 617-354-9363 or send e-mail to rcowan at  Thanks!!

  Schools  (as of 2/3/96)

  American University
  Antioch College
  Brandeis University
  Clark University
  College of Wooster, OH
  Cornell University
  Marquette University, WI
  Penn State University
  Purdue University
  St. Cloud St. University
  St. John Fisher College
  St. Peters College
  University of Colorado
  University Incarnate Word
  University of New Mexico
  University of Pennsylvania
  University of Vermont
  Xavier University

  -------------------  to get a clean copy with lots of informative posters
                       and fact sheets, send e-mail to rcowan at

  Petition for New Priorities

          We, the undersigned, are distressed that the government is making
  cuts in important social programs in order to "balance the budget."  The
  greatest obstacle to balancing the budget is the $400 billion spent each
  year on the military and on corporate welfare.  (see details on reverse)

          We urge President Clinton and all representatives in Congress to
  make cuts in military spending and corporate subsidies to pay for new
  priorities that place greater value on education, environmental protection,
  and human welfare.  We support congressional proposals to redirect military
  spending and corporate welfare to social spending.  We pledge to give our
  votes and our time to candidates who pledge to support these new


  1. ___________________  __________________________________________________

  2. ___________________  __________________________________________________

  3. ___________________  __________________________________________________

  4. ___________________  __________________________________________________

  5. ___________________  __________________________________________________

  6. ___________________  __________________________________________________

  7. ___________________  __________________________________________________

  8. ___________________  __________________________________________________

  9. ___________________  __________________________________________________

  10. __________________  __________________________________________________

  11. __________________  __________________________________________________

  12. __________________  __________________________________________________

  13. __________________  __________________________________________________

  14. __________________  __________________________________________________

  15. __________________  __________________________________________________

  When returned to the group listed below, completed petitions will be
  delivered to local representatives, to President Clinton, and to the

  (page 2)

  "Petition for New Priorities" - Background Info

          In the last two years, the U.S. Congress has tried to cut billions
  of dollars from domestic programs like welfare, student aid, and enforcing
  environmental laws1  while preserving $150 billion in corporate welfare.2
  Politicians have said that we must "make sacrifices" in order to reduce the
  deficit.3  However, these three domestic programs together amount to less
  than one-quarter of the military budget, which has been spared from cuts.4

          We now spend over $260 billion in tax dollars every year on the
  military, including nuclear weapons programs.5   Even though the Cold War
  ended 7 years ago, we spend 90% as much on the military now as we did from
  1950-1990.6  Many respected military analysts have detailed how the
  Pentagon could cut spending by up to 50% and still meet U.S. national
  security needs.7  We spend 17 times the combined military budgets of all
  potential adversaries.8  By spreading U.S.-made arms all over the world, we
  may actually increase the potential for war.9  In October of 1996, the
  Congress and the President approved a 1997 military budget with $9.4
  billion more than the Pentagon requested.10

  1 Information on attempted cuts was provided by the U.S. House Budget
  Committee in its original budget proposals for FY 1996 and FY 1997,
  available at the committee Web site (  The cuts which passed
  were much smaller than those proposed, due to vetos from President Clinton
  in the fall of 1995.

  2 The Boston Globe estimates Corporate Welfare at $150 billion per year.
  Their series is located at  Thd National
  Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament in Washington, DC
  published a report entitled "Pentagon Corporate Welfare" estimating the
  portion corporate welfare in the military budget to be $10 billion, so
  non-Pentagon corporate welfare is about $140 billion.

  3 For example, Newt Gingrich was quoted in the Boston Globe  on February 3,
  1995 as saying that students receiving Pell grants were not doing their
  part to reduce the deficit.

  4 The figures for these three programs:
   Welfare (AFDC):  about $25 billion in 1994-5 [Statistical Abstract of the U.S.]
   Student Aid:  $32.7 billion in 1994-5 [Chronicle of Higher Education]
   Environmental Protection Agency:  $6.3 billion in 1995 [Statistical
  Abstract of the U.S.]
        Total for Welfare, Student Aid, EPA:  $64 billion

        Four times this figure is $256 billion, still less than the 1996
  military budget of $265.6 billion.

  5 Gray, Jerry, "Senate Approves a Big Budget Bill, Beating Deadline," New
  York Times, October 1, 1996, p. 1.

  6 Derived from "U.S. Military Spending, 1945-1996," fact sheet by Martin
  Calhoun, Center for Defense Information, April 2, 1996.  Includes spending
  on nuclear weapons programs by the US Dept. of Energy.

  7 See Korb, Lawrence, former Asst. Secretary of Defense in the Reagan
  Administration, in "Our Overstuffed Armed Forces," Foreign Affairs,
  November/December 1995; also America's Defense Monitor, interview with
  William Colby.

  8 In 1991, General Colin Powell was quoted, "We no longer have the luxury
  of having a threat to plan for."  Below are the military budgets of all the
  countries the Pentagon defines as potential adversaries, as listed in the
  report World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers, US Arms Control and
  Disarmament Agency,  1996:
      Iraq    3 billion               Syria   3 billion
      Libya   1 billion               Cuba    0.3 billion
      North Korea     6 billion       Iran    2 billion
      Total : $15.6 billion
          Multiplied by 17, this comes to $265.2 billion, still less than the
  United States military budget.

  9 "Armed for Profit," The Boston Globe, special 12-page report. Feb. 11, 1996.

  10 "Highlights: The Senate's Bill for Fiscal '97," New York Times, October
  1, 1996, chart on p.22.

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