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Excessive military spending is a problem

To the Editor:

Interesting that those who have the most to say against U.S. government spending seem to have the least to say about the cost of war, occupation and other aspects of militarism. The largest category of government spending is military, and more than one-third of our alarming national debt is military generated.

I’d like to know what Senate Candidate Pat Toomey (“Stop the spending addiction,” 4/21/10) has to say about the more than $985 billion spent in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 (Does he feel safer?). And of course that’s not counting the more than $15 billion (so far this year, not counting local-level expenditures) used for the spectacularly ineffective “war on drugs.”

It’s easy to pull information about some publicly funded programs out of context, hold them up as examples of “wasteful projects” and thus smear the entire stimulus program; it would require considerably more backbone to point out where the big waste of taxpayer dollars occurs.

Unfortunately almost anything that actually benefits average Americans and their elders and children can go on the cost-cutting chopping block these days. But military spending is the sacred, untouchable, barely mentionable — but ravenous — behemoth. Anyone who truly wants to “stop the spending addiction” and claims to care about “our children and grandchildren” had better start acknowledging its existence.

Ellen Slack

The author is a bibliographic assistant in Penn’s library system. Improve recycling in apartment buildings

To the Editor:

On the day before Earth Day, as I do every Wednesday, I walked through the 3900 and 4000 blocks of Pine Street on my way to work, past trash cans full of beer bottles and soda cans and recycling bins full of pizza boxes and plastic bags.

If Penn is committed to cutting the waste stream, it should figure out how to improve recycling in the scores of apartments buildings owned by the University itself and managed by Campus Apartments. This effort could yield far more impressive results than focusing on recycling in Greek houses (“Greek houses to get ‘Eco-Reps’ next fall,” 4/19/10).

Debra Weiner

The author is the School District/Community Liaison of After School Activities Partnerships.

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