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WV Unions Raise "Cost" Red Flag

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 By Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Contact
March 19, 2007

West Virginians are used to hearing labor organizations talk about fair pay, fair benefits and fair treatment at work --things that affect working families. So some might be surprised to hear the Iraq war has been added to the list. Larry Matheney with the West Virginia AFL-CIO says the war hits working families hard, because soldiers overwhelmingly come from low- and middle-class households, and the $400 billion spent on the war is taking away from investments at home, like education, health insurance for children and affordable housing.

"The cost financially to this country has just brought havoc to working families. It's taken money from the very things that make us who we are."

Those supporting continued spending for Iraq say it's needed to stabilize the country, and discourage growth of terrorist groups. Matheney reports that the war is costing about a billion dollars a week, and belives money spent so far could have gone a long way at home for things like health insurance and education.

"We would much rather hire seven million new teachers than we would bomb buildings and destroy families in Iraq."

Data on Iraq spending and domestic program equivalents at www.nationalpriorities.org.

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