Alliance sounds alarm on rising arms costs and tax burden –

Alliance sounds alarm on rising arms costs and tax burden

Published at 1:24 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, 2024

A Knoxville-based environmental group is sounding the alarm about the country's increased spending on weapons deployed to defend Israel.

The proposed US defense budget allocates more than $60 billion for nuclear weapons programs, a 4% increase compared to the previous year.

Tanvi Kardile of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance said a $14 billion plan was recently passed to provide additional weapons to Israel.

The alliance takes no sides in the Gaza conflict and supports calls for divestment from all nuclear weapons.

“The US Arms Budget continues to rise higher and higher every year“This year, the defense budget is $850 billion, a 31 percent increase over last year, and $69 billion of that will be spent on nuclear weapons operations,” Kardile said.

It is not U.S. policy to send U.S. nuclear weapons to any other country. And while most experts say Israel has its own nuclear weapons, the country has never admitted it.

US nuclear weapons – including submarine-launched missiles – have been deployed in the Mediterranean and could be used to defend Israel. The US also supplies it with numerous conventional weapons.

Kardile said the alliance views the increased spending as a burden on taxpayers and notes that the government could use those dollars for health care, education, public transportation and fighting homelessness — all of which would help people in Tennessee and across the country.

Besides the tax implications, Kardile said his group was concerned about ongoing risks closer to home, related to uranium enrichment and other activities Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.

She added that the expected cost of expanding the facility would be $9.3 billion.

“It’s also a huge burden on the people of Tennessee because it poses a risk to public health and the environment,” Kardile said. “So this issue directly affects the people of Tennessee.”

The U.S. Department of Energy says the Y-12 complex “plays a key role in strengthening national security” and that nuclear weapons serve as a deterrent to the nation's enemies.

But Kardile said major defense contractors have seen their stock prices soar. they continue to make profits of the war in Gaza and arms sales in general.

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