Congress just passed a debt-ceiling-and-budget-deal that increased Pentagon spending while placing spending caps and burdensome red-tape requirements on critical services for working people.
Of the roughly $858 billion in taxpayer money the United States is spending on the Pentagon this year, about half goes to military contractors, including weapons manufacturers. Year after year, the Pentagon budget rises―Congress has just agreed on upping it to $886 billion for next year. Now, an explosive six month investigation by 60 Minutes has exposed drastic price gouging by federal military contractors―with some raking up total profits near 40%!
The price gouging of American taxpayers must come to an end. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) reintroduced the People Over Pentagon Act, which would cut $100 billion from the Pentagon’s budget and reallocate the funds to human needs programs―to hire more teachers and nurses, enroll more children in Head Start, connect households to renewable energy, and more.
Two of the biggest price gougers are Lockheed Martin and its subcontractor, Boeing, which have also seen their tax rates plummet in recent years. Lockheed Martin has seen its effective tax rate cut nearly in half since the Trump tax scam became law in 2018―paying an effective tax rate of 27% in 2017, but just 15% in 2022. And, Boeing alone has gotten federal tax refunds the last three years totaling more than $4 billion, despite $187 billion in sales.
Throwing huge budget increases year after year to the Pentagon’s corporate contractors, which are price gouging the federal government while also paying historically low tax rates, undermines our security by preventing us from investing in the shared prosperity that comes from more housing, climate and public health protections, ending hunger, and more education. And Pentagon spending has been shown to create fewer jobs than comparable amounts spent on sectors including education, health care, renewable energy or infrastructure.
The United States spends more on defense than China, Russia, and the next seven countries combined. Reducing the Pentagon budget by $100 billion would still leave plenty to keep America safe at a level well above our country’s post-World War II average.
The Tale of Two Americas edition. Between 2018 and 2020, COVID-19 forced an unprecedented drop in life expectancy in the U.S. For non-Hispanic whites, the drop was 1.36 years. For Hispanics, it was 3.88 years; the decline was 3.25 years for non-Hispanic Blacks. Still, although the pace of vaccinations for Blacks and Hispanics is improving, in the 40 states keeping records by race, only 33 percent of Blacks and 38 percent of Hispanics have at least one dose, compared to 46 percent of whites.
In Vermont, 75 percent of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated. That’s roughly double the 38 percent of Mississippians who have received both shots. In Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Wyoming, fewer than half of residents are fully vaccinated. And the more infectious and dangerous delta variant of COVID-19 is on the rise – 20 percent of new cases in the U.S. are of the delta variety, double over the past two weeks. This is one tale of two Americas – mostly vaccinated states have at least some protection from community transmission because there are fewer places for the virus to spread. But in under-vaccinated states, mostly in the South but also in some Midwestern states, cases are climbing. In Missouri, hospitalizations are up 160 percent over the past month – and in some parts of the Show-Me State, only one in four of adults are fully vaccinated.
“There are two Americas, as they say. If you’re in vaccinated America, things are really, really good for you right now,” saidNeil J. Sehgal, an assistant professor of health policy at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health. “If you’re in unvaccinated America, well, there’s still a risk for you — and it’s not small.”
Of course, there is another tale of two Americas. It is a tale that existed long before the pandemic, a tale whose narrative was even more clearly delineated during the pandemic’s height. This is a tale of hardship, racial inequality, and longstanding barriers that hinder opportunity and steal years of life from the most vulnerable Americans – people of color, women, and those with the lowest incomes.
It is more clear than ever that if we want to write a new tale, we must start with and build upon the American Families and Jobs Plans. These comprehensive plans will redress inequities that have contributed to more deaths and fewer vaccinations by race and region. If we want to “build back better” we need more than just roads and bridges – we need a strong foundation of economic, health, and family security for all of us.
One Nation. Not two Americas.
If you agree, please tell your Senators and Representative to act. Now.
3.88; 3.25; 1.36 yrs
The decline in years of life expectancy from 2018-2020 among Hispanics, Blacks and whites in the U.S. because of COVID-19. Tweet this.
The estimated numberof Americans who are fully vaccinated as of this week. Although that is much greater than the number of people who get a flu shot in any given year, experts still say it is far short of what is needed to achieve herd immunity. Tweet this.
About two-thirds of service-sector workers said they could not take leave or took less leave than they wanted to, when they experienced a major life event, according to a new study. Of this group, 71 percent said the reason was they couldn’t afford to. Latinx workers (53%) and Black workers (49%) were the most likely to say they felt pressure to avoid taking time off or feared job loss compared with white workers (39%). Tweet this.
An Associated Press analysisof 34 states found that in the early months of the pandemic, COVID-19 shut down foster care transactions. Between March and December 2020, at least 22,600 fewer children left foster care compared with the same time period the year before. Family unifications were down 16 percent and adoptions declined 23 percent. Tweet this.
Almost 25% higher
A new analysisof deaths in the U.S. found that Black people were killed in car crashes at a rate almost 25 percent higher than white people in recent years, a disparity that appears to have grown worse during the pandemic. Experts think there are two reasons behind the disparity: more dangerous roads are found in communities of color and people of color were more likely to be employed in “essential” jobs during the pandemic, with no option to stay home.
California lawmakers are putting the final touches on a legislative package the nation has never seen before: $5.2 billion to cover 100 percent of the unpaid rent that lower-income Californians incurred during the pandemic. The state is also considering setting aside $2 billion to pay for outstanding water and electricity bills.
In Washington, D.C.’s Ward 8, which is majority-Black, just 26 percent of residents ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated. The rate is double that in wealthier, whiter Wards 2 and 3. Just 5 percent of ages 12 to 15 in Ward 8 have received at least one vaccination, compared to 67 percent in Ward 2.
About 20 million
Some 20 million people – about 10 percent of all adults – saidtheir household did not have enough to eat in the past seven days, according to the latest U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey data, collected May 26 to June 7. This was true for 15 percent of Black adults, 17 percent of Latinx, 7 percent of whites, and 6.5 percent of Asians.
7.1 million adults – 14 percent of adult renters – reportednot being caught up in rent. This was true for 23 percent of Black renters, 15 percent of Latinx renters, 15 percent of Asian renters, and 9.5 percent of white renters.