By Jeffrey J. Weiss

On December 7, 33 people representing various organizations gathered at the Quaker Friends Meeting House to discuss the 2010 U.S. Federal Budget.

The discussion was led by the Catholic Peace Ministry and sponsored by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the American Friends Service Committee. Jeffrey J Weiss presented a power-point on the numbers, both receipts and expenditures for 2010, and Stephen Toothman of Occupy Iowa discussed the state of occupation here in Iowa and around the country.

"The 2010 budget numbers reflect, among other things, a permanent war economy; Washington, Eisenhower and even Bill Gates have warned us of the the danger of a perpetual state of war," Weiss said. "Half the discretionary budget is going to the Pentagon. We have never received a peace dividend. Despite the world being dramatically more peaceful --- there is not one interstate war taking place in 2011, and political violence has significantly declined -- we continue on a path unsustainable if you read history."

Stephen Toothman of  Occupy Iowa also gave a brief presentation and referrred to a federal budget that shows the tax burden has shifted from corporations to individuals. In 1945 corporations and individuals paid taxes to the federal treasury on a one-to-one basis, but in 2010 corporations paid around 10 cents into the federal treasury for every dollar paid by individuals.  

"All the numbers, especially since the late 1970s, show that we are losing the middle class," Toothman said. "Think about that! When our government can be bought by money and our candidates -- the Citizens United ruling was the wake-up call. We call upon Iowans to occupy the caucuses to get these issues discussed. You do not have to be arrested to be a part of this; there are many roles you can take."

For more information or if you want a power-point presentation and discussion on this topic for your church or organization, please contact Jeffrey J. Weiss of the Catholic Peace Ministry at 4211 Grand Avenue, Des Moines IA 50312 jjwcpm@yahoo.com or www.occupydsm.org or stoothman@yahoo.com.