Taking Sides: The U.S. Military DOES Recieve Too Much Money From the Government

Anna Childs, School News Editor/Columnist

  As the United States continues to recover from an economically devastating pandemic, reducing unnecessary discretionary spending is of the utmost importance. However, the U.S. government continues to spend trillions of dollars in military expenditures, or about the size of the next 10 largest military budgets combined (SIPRI). Billions of wasted taxpayer dollars have been contributed to failed military programs that if redirected toward the healthcare system, could have saved millions of lives. The embarrassing mismanagement of the Pentagon has only served to eat up over half of U.S. discretionary spending which could be better funneled towards health care and the climate crisis. 

  Dozens of unsuccessful weapons programs in just the early 21st century have cost taxpayers $46 billion. The primary example of this is demonstrated by the Department of Defense’s wildly expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that has had over 900 software defects and is expected to cost $1.5 trillion in its entirety. Other examples include the Future Combat Systems program, a fleet of vehicles that completely failed, the Comanche helicopter which was developed for decades and never even built, and the $67 billion ballistic missile defense project in development since the 1990s that has never been shown to work in an actual conflict (Scientific American).

The dangers of a hyperfocus on military and negligent attitudes toward public health was especially evident in the early COVID-19 pandemic

— A. Childs

  The most flagrant case of horrible management of funding in U.S. history has been towards the healthcare system. If the U.S. can afford to waste billions of dollars on unnecessary military whims, why then should it be the only developed country without universal healthcare? The dangers of a hyperfocus on military and negligent attitudes toward public health was especially evident in the early COVID-19 pandemic, as the Trump administration’s dismissal of health concerns set it far behind its developed country counterparts. 

  An often overlooked aspect of our excess military spending is its environmental impact. The U.S. military is the largest contributor to carbon pollution in the world, having “collectively emitted 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon emissions, twice the annual output of all the passenger vehicles nationwide” between 2001 and 2017. To truly invest in the future of this country, our government should be doing much more to counteract this glaring issue and find ways to cut useless military spending to do so. In fact, cutting up to one-third of spending from areas such as the nuclear arsenal has been confirmed by Pentagon officials themselves to have little impact on national security, deeming it all the more necessary (Scientific American). 

  With chronically neglected areas like U.S. healthcare and the environmental crisis becoming more and more important in our modern society, the U.S. government has a responsibility to manage its funds wisely for the good of the American people. Cutting military spending is by far the most obvious solution.