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Letter: Invest in the 'peace dividend' and provide economic security

To the editor:

As I read the headlines, it is apparent we are not willing to pay our fair share to the next generation. School districts are forced to make drastic cuts. Goodhue cannot make necessary updates on its school. We have failed referendums to keep our educational systems at a level compatible with today's demands on our young students. Teachers are striking for fair pay.

I find it embarrassing that today's young people see how little we adults regard their futures. However, there are countless examples of how little society prepares our young people for life in the 21st century which is a carryover from the previous century.

For nearly 40 years we have seen austerity budgets eating away at the well-being of the middle and lower class. For years I thought it was these classes that were becoming less and less willing to work hard for higher economic self-sufficiency and that they were feeding off the more affluent. The reality today is the middle class and the poor are less able to maintain their social-economic status because of things they have little control of.

Many keep saying that we just cannot keep pouring more and more tax money into programs of social uplift. I say we do not have to increase your taxes. We just have to spend money more wisely.

In 2011 I participated in the Occupy movement in Washington, D.C., and I held a sign saying "U.S. Not Broke, Just Broken Priorities." Our country spends over 50 percent of its tax money on war and war preparations with the reason given it keeps us all secure. Are we really secure when we are losing the things that keep us secure such as affordable health care, affordable and equitable education, safe infrastructure and jobs that sustain a quality life?

On these pages I have tried to get people to work toward a more peaceful country but with little success in getting people involved. Peace is not an issue which holds people's interest. It may if I tell you that there is another reason to work for peace, what I call the "peace dividend." By spending half of what the U.S. spends now on militarism we could have all the things I mentioned earlier to uplift the people. We wouldn't be any less safe and we would make all Americans more secure in their futures. It's a matter of priorities.

Bill Habedank

Red Wing

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