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Building nuclear weapons is a hugely lucrative industry. Nuclear weapons are produced by corporations like Boeing, Bechtel, Lockheed Martin and Honeywell. They rake in enormous profits and are financed by our big financial institutions. Bank of America is one of the top 10 U.S. financial institutions that invest in the top 18 weapons-producing companies.

An activist friend of mine who had chosen to have a Working Assets credit card said recently that he looked in his wallet and “was unpleasantly surprised to find that he had nuclear weapons” in his wallet. His carefully chosen credit card actually was issued by Bank of America.

There is an international organization named “Don’t Bank On The Bomb.” They point out that in total, the top 10 U.S. financial institutions invested $748 billion over the last two years in U.S. companies that are building nuclear weapons. Plus, add in our income taxes!

The National Priorities Project says the average American in 2018 paid about $14,400 in federal income taxes, about $3,500 of which went to the military. From that $3,500, $1,700 was given to military contractors and $695 went to the troops. The NPP reports: “The average tax bill for military contractors, $1,734, is more than the average for Medicare ($1,639), veterans’ benefits ($848) or food stamps/SNAP ($326), and way, way more than the average taxpayer contributed to K-12 education ($101), the EPA ($37.50) or public housing ($9.79).”

We are spending all of that money through our banks and our taxes to build and maintain weapons that could bring about the end of human life on earth and that are illegal according to the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This treaty bans the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction and places them among all other WMD’s, including biological weapons, chemical weapons, landmines and cluster munitions. Once 50 nations have ratified the treaty, it becomes international law outlawing nuclear weapons and making countries that maintain them outlaw nations in breach of international law and outside the international norm. Twenty-seven nations have both signed and ratified the treaty. Unfortunately, the United States is leading the pack of outlaw nations with our “Trump Nuclear Doctrine” and a new arms race guaranteeing that all the other nuclear nations will continue to follow suit.

Every dollar spent is a dollar taken from our children and the world’s children. When you consider the increasingly critical needs of our dear planet facing climate change, you can see that we need to change course. It is up to the people to insist on it. Please go to your bank and ask them about their policies. Look at the small print on the back of your credit cards.

Susi Snyder has written, “We made Don’t Bank on the Bomb because everyone can do something about the nuclear weapons threat.” It will take all of us acting together, and it needs to be soon.

The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.