Letter to the Editor: Evan Jenkins and the cost of military spending

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Dear Editor:

Evan Jenkins is a strongly-conservative Republican.  He clearly and unreservedly supports increased Pentagon spending.  Just one of his many quotes: “Keeping our military strong is the central role of the federal government.”  In fact, a recent check of his voting record indicates he has supported military spending 100% of the time.

But some kind of balance is needed to reduce the chance of a war.  Avoiding and preventing wars could be even more important than the billions spent on war machines.  Just this late February, more than 120 retired generals told Congress, “The State Department, USAID … and other developmental agencies are critical to preventing conflict and reducing the need to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.”  General Thomas Waldhauser, head of the U.S. Command in Africa has noted that “Many people, especially those in uniform, have said we can’t kill our way to victory…”

But Congressman Jenkins recently voted to slash or eliminate spending on the agencies that reduce the threats of war.  How come?

A Quaker-sponsored group (Friends Committee on National Legislation) has clear data that U.S. military spending is currently more than the outlays of the next 7 major countries combined.  That includes China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, France, India and the United Kingdom.

Why must we spend so much on war and the preparation for war?

Mr. Jenkins, we don’t need to beat out all of the other top military spenders combined.

Let’s do some comparisons.  Congressman Jenkins says he strongly supports job creation and government spending does create some jobs in our country. However, military spending creates far fewer jobs than most people think and few of those jobs ever come to West Virginia. An information check indicates that education expenditures create about 27,000 jobs per $1 billion spent.  Health care expenditures of $1 billion create about 18,000 jobs.  But military spending creates only 12,000 jobs with the same amount of money.

Congressman Jenkins, your voting record indicates you support funding education only 32% of the time and public health 28% of the time.  Our children, our seniors, and our average citizens need good schools, good health care and the jobs in these areas.  I understand that you want to cut back on government costs but why in the vital areas that your constituents depend upon?  Why not in military spending?

Words may deceive but voting records tell where values lie.  Let’s take a close look at where the money comes from to support those extra billions spent on our military. Well Congressman Jenkins this Spring voted for H.B. 596, the bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, the one he calls Obamacare.  That means he voted to gut a law that supports 510,200 West Virginians that are on Medicaid and thousands more seniors on Medicare.  Yes, you can cut spending there, and have more for the military.  But at what cost to the health of the people who voted for you?

The current bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia and president of the West Virginia Council of Churches is The Right Reverend W. Michie Klusmeyer.  In a recent article, he states that these cuts to Medicaid, “will significantly reduce the availability of services like adult day care, home health and personal care services, and caregiver respite, creating hardship for many low- and middle-income West Virginia families.”  He goes on to point out that the older and disabled will be harmed.  He ends with important guidance from the words of Jesus that feeding the hungry and aiding the sick are paramount. “Truly I tell you, whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me.” (Matthew 25:37-40).

West Virginians are becoming aware of what Congressman Jenkins stands for.  And now he wants to become a Senator. It sounds like Mr. Jenkins supports war, not peace.  His record indicates that he wants to cut vital medical help for his disabled and ill constituents.  This man, who wants to be a Senator, appears to be unable to value the real needs of many people in our state.

Randy Grumpelt

Retired Psychologist, Second Creek, Monroe County