Why Is Our Military Budget Still Going Up Even After Afghanistan Ended?

by | Mar 22, 2022 | Politics & Corruption, Opinions & Commentary

Photo by John Torcasio

Why Is Our Military Budget Still Going Up Even After Afghanistan Ended?

by | Mar 22, 2022 | Politics & Corruption, Opinions & Commentary

Photo by John Torcasio
Spending 12 times as much on our military budget as Russia didn’t prevent a war in Europe. It just deprived us of resources at home.

Congress recently announced a bipartisan budget deal to fund the federal government through 2022. It’s a lopsided budget if there ever was one.

Even after America’s longest war in Afghanistan ended last year, military spending isn’t going down. In fact, it’s skyrocketing upwards — from $740 billion in the last budget set under Trump to $782 billion in this deal.

The same new budget offers just $730 billion to meet urgent domestic needs at home.

That means that even during a pandemic, supply chain crisis, and painful inflation, we’ll put more resources into the military and war than public health, education, green jobs, affordable housing, scientific and medical research, child care, and every other domestic need — combined.

This special treatment for the Pentagon recklessly squanders precious resources that could be used to strengthen our families and communities against our compounding crises at home.

Families are fearful for their economic security. The pandemic hasn’t yet ended, schools and hospitals face ongoing staffing shortages, and the opioid epidemic is raging. Meanwhile our dependence on oil continues to fuel the climate crisis, while supporting corrupt authoritarian states and subjecting families to wild price swings.

Increasing military spending does nothing to address these problems. And it won’t make us safer, even as war rages in Ukraine. The U.S. military budget is already larger than the next 11 countries combined — and more than 12 times larger than Russia’s.

Yet neither that spending, the advanced U.S. military hardware scattered across Eastern Europe, nor the thousands of U.S. troops already positioned throughout the continent prevented Russia from invading Ukraine and sparking a giant humanitarian crisis.

If anything, that military presence has only aggravated tensions with Russia — and put innocent people in countries like Ukraine squarely in the middle of a superpower conflict.

President Biden has wisely decided not to risk nuclear war by sending U.S. troops or air power to engage militarily with Russia. But aggressively ramping up our overall military spending — less than 1 percent of which is actually earmarked for the Ukraine response — only ratchets up those superpower tensions and risks dragging us into a larger war.

The budget deal also prioritizes militarization at home. It continues to fund the immigration enforcement agencies responsible for the worst abuses of the Trump era, including family separations and millions of deportations. It even maintains prior funding for Trump’s inhumane and destructive border wall, which has already proven a costly boondoggle.

The main winners here are contractors who profit off human suffering.

In recent years, more than half of all military spending has gone to for-profit, private contractors. The new spending bill continues this windfall. It spends more on expensive weapons systems than even the Pentagon requested, and it continues lucrative contracts for companies that detain and surveil immigrants.

Our longstanding patterns of spending on war have enriched corporate profiteers while leaving less for our needs here at home. They didn’t prevent a disastrous war in Europe, either. And yet conservatives in Congress have insisted on plowing more money into the Pentagon year after year.

In recent years, congressional opposition to unlimited Pentagon budgets and abusive immigrant detention practices has grown, with record numbers of members voting against completely unwarranted military spending hikes. But while their numbers are growing, they’re still a minority.

This deal is a sign that there’s still a long way to go before our funding priorities match our needs.

Republished with permission from Other Words, by Lindsay Koshgarian

OtherWords — Institute for Policy Studies

OtherWords — Institute for Policy Studies

OtherWords is a free editorial service published by the Institute for Policy Studies. Each week, we publish a package of op-eds and columns, plus an original cartoon, and distribute them to readers, editors, and publishers through our website and newsletter. Each year, hundreds of newspapers and websites reaching millions of readers use this work.

Comments

Follow Us

Related Articles

Feb 06 2023

Harvesting the Green: Billions in Federal Farm Subsidies Flow to a Select Group of Producers

The federal government paid more than $478 billion from 2015 to 2021 in farm subsidies for crop insurance, disasters, conservation payments. And the top 1% collected...
Feb 04 2023

Fear, Terror and Paranoia: Understanding the Mindset of the Far-Right

The paranoia-terror coffee klatch of the far-right thinks every random thought is a “fact.” And by this they tip their hand as to their real mindset—they...
grayscale photography of a man standing in front of a Jesus graffiti
Feb 04 2023

Michael Bounces on Jesus: A Heavenly Parable

Michael dies. Michael goes to Heaven and meets Jesus. Michael reality-checks Jesus…
Feb 03 2023

Private Medicare Advantage Plans That Stole Money From Medicare Are Being Allowed to Keep It

In a dizzying display of twisted “logic,” the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are not requiring repayments of funds stolen through rampant...
Feb 02 2023

The Ambition of Ron DeSantis: Big Brother, Fahrenheit 451 or Both?

Ron DeSantis has pushed for a curriculum that whitewashes—irony intended—the vast history of oppression of black members of American society throughout our...
Feb 01 2023

A Reality Check on the GOP Promise to Balance the Federal Budget

A quick look back at how we briefly balanced the budget twenty years ago, along with how much has changed, shows that Republicans are unlikely to manage a similar...
Feb 01 2023

Ethics Concerns at the Supreme Court: Roberts’ Wife Is the Latest Flap

The wife of Chief Justice John Roberts, like insurrectionist Ginni Thomas, apparently has been utilizing her position of being “married to the Court” for...
Scott Jenkins, sheriff of Culpeper County, Va., is one of a large number of so-called ‘constitutional sheriffs’ in the U.S. Eva Hambach/AFP via Getty Images
Jan 31 2023

Barrier to Gun Control: The Delusional Authority of Constitutional Sheriffs

The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association has spent more than a decade actively recruiting and training sheriffs to believe that their office is more...
Jan 30 2023

Yes, White Supremacy Killed Tyre Nichols

When black officers pulled Tyre Nichols over, they did so as representatives of a faulty apparatus, one that has for decades perpetuated the message that black people...
Jan 30 2023

More George Santos: His Top Donors Don’t Seem to Exist

The burners under the pot of questions and investigations surrounding the lies and possible crimes of George Santos appear to have been turned up full blast.
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This