Once again on April 15, the South Country Peace Group leafleted against military spending outside the Patchogue P.O. as people go in and out filing and paying their income taxes. I believe this was our 8th year. We used the famous War Resisters League pie chart flyer that illustrates 54% of the federal taxes that Americans pay go towards military spending in one form or another. We also used a flyer that contrasted the money the military spends with the cost of human needs. It indicated the many things this nation could have money for if the Pentagon budget were cut.
One thing I noticed on the pie chart was $200 billion dollars estimated for Iraq & Afghanistan included in the total military spending (of 54% or $1,449 billion). This to me is a far too low estimate as recent revelations indicate the final total cost of the Iraq War may reach a TRILLION dollars!
It was great to see hundreds of flyers handed out. Susan, Diane & Eve gave out them out. Many people exhibited surprise when learning of the amount of money the U.S. pays on military spending.
We also conducted our annual penny poll. Each person that takes it is given 10 pennies that represent their federal income tax that they pay. Each penny represents 10% of their taxes. They are asked to divide up the 10 coins by placing them in plastic cups on the table that are each labeled with a category of spending.
Nina did a great job engaging people entering or leaving the Post Office and convincing them to participate in the poll. After our stay at the PO was over (about 1 hour, 15 minutes) we counted the coins in each of the cups. Here are the results:
Space Program-2, Senior Citizens-16, Medical-16, Military-12, Transportation-4, Social Security-12, Jobs-16, Defense-1, Cancer Research-11, Health Care 39, Education-32, Veterans Benefits-7, Federal Emergency-1, Homeland Security-4, Housing-19, Environment 16, Youth Programs-8.
While this may not be a ‘scientific’ poll, it does give some sense of how members of the Patchogue community think about how their tax money should be spent. Please note that spending for education and health care got the most support.