"We know there is plenty of waste in the nuclear weapons budget . . . just one nuclear bomblife extension program will cost $10 billion for an estimated 400 weapons. At that price, we could buy each bomb’s weight in solid gold. And this would be a better investment. Gold appreciates, while money spent on this nuclear bomb is money down the drain."
-- Letter authored by U.S. Representative Ed Markey and signed by many U.S. Representatives in November, 2012
The KC City Council passed legislation for re-use plans in the event the federal government no longer uses plants making nuclear weapons components.
The new plant will help make Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The new facility is at 14500 Botts Road, on Highway 150, on a strip of Kansas City that
juts out just south of Grandview. It will manufacture and procure about 85% of
the components for nuclear weapons – non-nuclear components that transform
nuclear explosives into deliverable weapons of mass destruction. These include
radars, guidance systems, tracking systems, and arming, firing, and fusing
If funding is cut for other sites in the nuclear weapons complex, that will affect
work in Kansas City, calling into question the sustainability of the jobs.
This plant is to replace the old one at the Bannister Federal Complex. The old one
has had continuous scandals involving chemical contamination that has left
workers sick and caused their early death. Environmental contamination may help
account for developers’ reluctance to go to this vicinity.
Why would Kansas City's Planned Industrial Expansion Authority put up bonds to finance a federal facility, when this is so completely unprecedented, anywhere in the world? Because when the government was deciding to close the Bannister Federal site, the original plan was to move the new replacement facility to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Kansas City City Council came up with a complicated scheme to keep the facility here in order to save around 2,000 jobs. However, since the five buildings are almost all built, we believe the danger of it being moved to Albuquerque is now past and is therefore no longer an issue.
It’s unprecedented for local bonds rather than U.S. Treasury bonds to be
financing what is so clearly a federal facility.
A previous attempt to put a measure on the ballot for voters to have a say in what this new plant makes was knocked down by the City Council and Circuit Court on the grounds that this is a federal facility - keeping city voters from having any say. We assert that city voters should have a say over what lending is done by our industrial development corporation.
Those local bonds, to 14 undisclosed private investors, offer a 5% return. This is of course far higher than the U.S. Treasury bonds are offering now. For the federal government to finance with higher rates rather than lower rates is not good stewardship of the federal debt out grandchildren will be paying for.
It’s unprecedented for a local agency to own the facility for nuclear weapons
The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority of Kansas City holds the title to the new plant, as approved by the City Council. This is an agency whose board is appointed entirely by the mayor. They’ll lease it to the developer, which will lease it to one federal agency, which will lease it to another.
Cities aren't supposed to legislate elaborate financial plans for producing nuclear weapons parts.
This bypasses proper channels of U.S. Congressional appropriations. The city is doing more than participating in building weapons of mass destruction - it's enabling a set-up that might not happen with more full federal attention and accountability.
Nuclear weapons are an unstable business.
The US Council of Mayors voted unanimously June 27, 2011 to support a UN plan for eliminating nuclear weapons by 2020. The International Red Cross voted by acclamation on November 26, 2011 that it's time to abolish nuclear weapons as a medical menace. These are two of several efforts at a time when the old reasoning for these weapons just doesn’t fit the current situation, as asserted by several military experts.
Nuclear weapons are Cold War relics. The Cold War ended over 20 years ago. Why should we have any confidence they’ll keep being made, to the point that we’re in economic trouble if they aren’t?
Making other products would create more jobs than making nuclear weapons parts will.
Prominent economist Lloyd Jeff Dumas and Dr. Teresa D. Nelson have calculated job projections for Kansas City specifically. (For the full report, click here.) First he looks at the "multiplier" effect, which is how many more jobs we get after the first set of people are employed. Even if we were to pay people to sit and watch television, after all, they'd then buy groceries and help give employment to the grocers. But because nuclear weapons parts are capital-intensive rather than labor-intensive, and the final product doesn't provide much by way of more employment, other uses for the same plant would have a better multiplier effect:
If the plant had as many as 2,500 direct jobs, and we added the number of indirect jobs generated, totals for different products are:
So the good news is – if we get a chance to convert the plant to something along these lines, for the same resources we get more jobs!
But this also means that we could have gotten more jobs with the same resources we're spending on this plant, so over-all we're actually losing jobs now! When many are proposing that federal budget cuts should be severe, to build the federal debt on a job-loser is unconscionable.