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Resolutions & Amendments

27th International Convention - Chicago, IL (1986)

Defense Spending

Resolution No. 106
27th International Convention
June 23-27, 1986
Chicago, IL


The Reagan Administration is seeking to continue the unprecedented peacetime military buildup with a request for a $34 billion increase in defense appropriations; and


Defense spending has already doubled since Ronald Reagan became President; and


The Pentagon's procurement practices have resulted in substantial overpayments for numerous items; and


The Secretary of Defense has refused to prioritize among weapon systems and has rubber-stamped almost every request from the military services; and


This defense buildup is, in effect, being paid for by drastic reductions in vital domestic programs which improve the health, safety and well-being of working people and provide security and protection to the poor and disadvantaged of our society; and


The enormous defense buildup will have a catastrophic impact on the U.S. economy because it will:

  1. Divert scarce resources and skilled scientific and managerial talent away from civilian production needs;
  2. Cause interest rates to remain high by increasing the competition for the investment capital needed to rebuild the U.S. industrial base, and by perpetuating budget deficits;
  3. Fuel inflation. Many studies have shown that defense expenditures are the most inflationary form of government spending; and
  4. Put the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage with our major trading partners in Europe and Japan who devote less of their capital resources and scientific talent to defense activities; and


The national security of the United States cannot be measured merely in terms of weapons capabilities and strategic military strength; a strong and growing industrial base, a modem, reliable public infrastructure, a full-employment economy with a healthy balance of trade and a reduced dependence on foreign energy resources are all equally vital ingredients of our national security.


That this 27th International Convention, while reaffirming its commitment to and support for a defense network that ensures protection for the United States from any and all adversaries, oppose the unwarranted, inflationary, and unjustified defense spending buildup proposed by the Reagan Administration. In order to assure that defense expenditures are prudently managed, and to encourage the setting of priorities for an effective defense, the defense budget should be reduced with guaranteed retraining for those affected; and


That AFSCME support the concept of orderly, planned economic conversion. AFSCME should work with other unions and community organizations to begin formulating plans for alternative uses of defense installations and production facilities that might be closed for the sake of efficiency, including plans for the economic redevelopment of communities that would be adversely affected by such closings, and for the retraining of workers displaced by those actions.


Edward Keller, Delegate
Local 632, Council 13
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania