Local people’s priorities for the federal budget are the OPPOSITE of Congress’s.

Twice in late summer 2019 the Olympia Coalition to Abolish Nuclear Weapons organized and staffed information booths at public events (Olympia’s Harbor Days from Fri. Aug. 30 to Sun. Sept. 1, and Olympia’s International Peace Day event on Sat. Sept. 21).

I labeled six jars with different possible uses for our federal budget.  Our volunteers handed each visitor to our booth a stack of ten pennies and invited them to put the pennies into the various jars to show how the visitor would choose to spend the federal budget. The results (listed below) were similar for both events, except “Environment and climate” and “Health care” exchanged places for 1st and 2nd priorities. Military has rated lowest priority among public participants every time I have conducted this game over the decades, even though Congress gives military spending highest priority and the most money every year.

During Olympia’s Harbor Days (Fri. Aug. 30 to Sun. Sept. 1) people deposited the following numbers of pennies in the six jars:

421 Environment and climate

347 Health care

329 End poverty

289 Education and young people

93 Other governmental functions

86 Military and wars

During Olympia’s International Peace Day event (Sat. Sept. 21) people deposited the following numbers of pennies in the six jars:

158 Health care

144 Environment and climate

122 End poverty

100 Education and young people

30 Other governmental functions

15 Military and wars

After people played the game we offered printed materials about the federal budget.




About GlenAnderson 1515 Articles
Since the late 1960s Glen Anderson has devoted his life to working as a volunteer for peace, nonviolence, social justice, and progressive political issues. He has worked through many existing organizations and started several. Over the years he has worked especially for such wide-ranging goals as making peace with Vietnam, eliminating nuclear weapons, converting from a military economy to a peacetime economy, abolishing the death penalty, promoting nonviolence at all levels throughout society, and helping people organize and strategize for grassroots movements to solve many kinds of problems. He writes, speaks, and conducts training workshops on a wide variety of topics. Since 1987 he has produced and hosted a one-hour cable TV interview program on many kinds of issues. Since 2017 he has blogged at https://parallaxperspectives.org He lives in Lacey near Olympia WA. You can reach him at (360) 491-9093 glen@parallaxperspectives.org