The U.S. has plenty of problems that need to be addressed, yet we are not able to solve said problems because we are spending our entire budget on the military. Having a large defense budget is necessary; however, the U.S. goes above necessity and into excessive spending with our budget.
According to the Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. spent $725 billion on national defense during the 2020 fiscal year. This accounted for 11% of the total federal budget.
This means we spent more on defense than the next 11 countries combined, and overall, our spending accounted for 39% of the total world military expenditure. The second top military spender was China, but they still only spent $252 billion in 2020.
If no other countries are spending anywhere as much as we are on our military, then there is no reason for us to keep doing it. We will still be the top military power in the world even if we spend a couple hundred billion less on defense a year.
We need to reallocate some money to more pressing issues, such as the current energy crisis, poverty and climate change.
Gas prices are expected to increase to over four dollars per gallon this winter, increasing burdens on lower and middle-class families, pushing more people past the poverty line. There are no good solutions for this either as OPEC+ refused President Joe Biden’s request to increase pumping and halting exports or digging into our emergency supplies would just worsen the problem. This shows we need different energy sources and we can no longer rely on fossil fuels.
This directly ties into climate change and poverty as well, so reallocating some of the military defense money to quickly increase renewable energy infrastructure would help address all three problems. That is a much nobler cause than investing billions in making bigger weapons.
Besides investing in renewable energy, we need to use that money to invest in affordable housing, better social welfare programs, and an actually livable minimum wage so that citizens can actually afford to live. Poverty increased by one percentage point in 2020 to reach 11.4%. We should be using some of those billions of dollars to help address this issue.
Billions of dollars of defense money are spent on research to improve our weapons, while research in healthcare and other sciences struggles to get funding. The moral thing to do would be to spend more money on helping people than we are on finding the quickest way to kill people.
Biden has been trying to pass $4.5 trillion dollars for more sustainable infrastructure as part of his Build Back Better agenda. The opposing side mostly cites cost as their reason for dismissing the plan. However, we have a large military budget that could use some cutting.
This obviously would not be sufficient to pay for the entire plan, but most of the sustainable infrastructure Biden wants to implement would drive energy prices down and eventually make the U.S. money.
There are clearly many other honorable ways to spend the U.S.’s budget that do not involve fighting. Let’s push our politicians to focus more on social welfare and the environment instead of the military.