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On Tax Day, A Reminder That War Is Not Free (VIDEO)

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How many tax dollars from your community have gone to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? And how else could that money have been spent?

The National Priorities Project helps you figure that out quite easily, with its Cost of War web site. It shows you the total amount nationwide, then lets you dig down to see the results by community. You can also calculate the tradeoffs.

And Brave New Foundation today is out with a new online short, starring Democratic Reps. Alan Grayson (Fla.), Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), and Barbara Lee (Calif.), reminding tax payers to consider how the war in Afghanistan is affecting the economy and job recovery in the United States today.

"The resident of Tucson," Grijalva says, "have paid $298 million of their tax dollars to the war in Afghanistan. That translates to 6,000 new jobs in the health care industry."

Over on Facebook, Brave New Foundation is also asking you to tell them what would you want to fix if we could spend those funds here at home instead .

Writing for TomDispatch.com, Jo Comerford, executive director of the National Priorities Project, found one mayor who wants everyone to know what he could have done with his city's 'war tax'.

Matt Ryan, the mayor of Binghamton, New York, is sick and tired of watching people in local communities "squabble over crumbs," as he puts it, while so much local money pours into the Pentagon's coffers and into America's wars. He's so sick and tired of it, in fact, that, urged on by local residents, he's decided to do something about it. He's planning to be the first mayor in the United States to decorate the facade of City Hall with a large, digital "cost of war" counter, funded entirely by private contributions.

That counter will offer a constantly changing estimate of the total price Binghamton's taxpayers have been paying for our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since October 2001. By September 30, 2010, the city's "war tax" will reach $138.6 million--or even more if, as expected, Congress passes an Obama administration request for supplemental funds to cover the president's "surge" in Afghanistan. Mayor Ryan wants, he says, to put the counter "where everyone can see it, so that my constituents are urged to have a much-needed conversation."

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