May 24 — 12:00 am, 2007

Bus arrives with a message

US priorities upside-down, business group says

topsyturvey 20 20in 20paper Photo: Shani Evans

The President’s proposed federal budget for 2008 contains $604 billion for defense, including wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and only $38 billion for education.

Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, a group of 650 businessmen, including current and former CEOs of some of America’s most profitable companies, want to change that and say the Department of Defense could save $60 billion by shrinking its arsenal of outdated and unnecessary weapons. These savings could then be transferred to domestic programs like education and healthcare, they say.

A strange-looking yellow school bus was in Philadelphia May 14 to demonstrate the point of view that education is being starved by U.S. military spending.

The attention-getting Topsy-Turvy bus was designed by the group to encourage the public and Presidential candidates to support a reduction in Pentagon spending and an increase in funding for social services like education.

Topsy-Turvy was envisioned by Ben Cohen, Ben and Jerry’s co-founder and chair of Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities. It was constructed by artist-mechanic Tom Kennedy.

Topsy-Turvy was parked outside City Hall along with a crowd of volunteers, all calling for government to invest in children and schools.

Kennedy was on hand, as were staff from Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth and CodePink. Their key message: If you support public schools – don’t buy the war.

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