U.S. defense spending is getting too hard to justify

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons | The United States defense budget is expected to be near a trillion dollars for fiscal year 2024.

Rory Brouillard | Staff Writer

Feb. 23, 2023

Since its birth in 1776, the United States has only been at peace collectively for around 17 years.

That is almost a quarter of a millennium of bloodshed.

War has always been present in the span of human history. Fighting has been used to start new conflicts and try to resolve issues between countries. Given the state of the world, it does not look like violent conflict is going away anytime soon. Unfortunately, death and destruction can get expensive.

Thankfully, the U.S. is a bottomless pit of money.

According to The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the U.S. spends more on national defense than China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan and South Korea — combined.

Defense spending accounts for more than 10 percent of all federal spending and nearly half of discretionary spending. Total discretionary spending — for both defense and nondefense purposes — is typically only about one-third of the annual federal budget.

Mike McCord, the Chief Financial Officer under the Secretary of Defense publicly stated the spending request for 2024 is expected to be larger than the $858 billion enacted in the 2023 fiscal year, making it the largest in history in nominal terms.

While the official number will likely not be released until March 9, the expected proposed budget is likely going to be very close to a trillion dollars.

Let it sink in, our government spends almost $1 trillion on weapons for defense and attack.

Obviously, our country needs to be prepared in case of an attack. However, is 1 trillion too much?

That is a lot of money considering the U.S. is 0-2 since the turn of the century.

All that money is not being used for defensive purposes, but it’s being used to have bigger and better weapons to attack and destroy others.

A large portion of the budget could be used in more beneficial ways, such as helping those who are starving.

The United States Department of Agriculture has calculated that 34 million people in this country are food insecure. They have no idea where their next meal will come from or when it will be.

The leaders of this country turn the other way and spend more money on war, which often only makes food insecurity worse. Famine can be seen as a direct result of war. The more money this country gives the military, the more people will go hungry.

The New York Times and World Beyond War project have estimated that about 3% of the United States military budget could end world starvation.

Whether it’s efforts to give jobs to those in need or grow more food, 3% is only a sliver. Why can’t we give that up? What is so important that we need this 3%? Nothing should be more important than making sure that everyone is able to live a healthy and safe life.

The United States has the highest military budget in the whole world. Military spending is at $738 billion, while China, who is number two, only has $193.3 billion. Obviously, China has their own internal and external issues, but the point here is why is the United States spending almost four times as much.

The United Kingdom is only at $61.5 billion. According to the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, 6% of the UK is struggling with food insecurity as of January 2023. This is compared to the United States 10.2% who are hungry every day.

Each country has their own causes and ways to battle hunger, but why can’t taking money from the military budget, where it is skyrocketing, not the first thought. This money is being used to find new, more destructive ways to “solve conflict.”

The United States has a history of having high military budgets and using it to destroy innocent lives.

Defense One Journal says that a chunk of the spending goes to help veterans with housing and security. Take away the $220 billion and it still is way ahead of other countries.

And we all know how much veterans enjoy the care they receive at Veteran Affairs, it only took half a century for them to compensate veterans suffering from the effects of agent orange.

Not to mention the Department of Veteran Affairs shows that one-third of the homeless population are veterans. There is a slow decrease, 10% since 2020, but more money should be given to help the homeless population overall.

Obviously, at this state in time a military and defense budget is needed. Sadly, war still exists all over the world and it isn’t coming to an end soon.

However, it does not need to be almost a trillion dollars. Nothing good can come from it being that high, only destruction.

Even if we move half of it to help those who are hungry and homeless, the United States will still have the highest budget, and still be one-and–half times higher than China’s.