This is an actual headline at Common Dreams: “Progressive Democrats Threaten to Tank $733 Billion in ‘Crazy’ Pentagon Spending If Social Programs Not Also Boosted.”
They keep using that word, “crazy.” I do not think it means what they think it means.
Dumping over $1 trillion per year into the Pentagon plus militarism in other departments eliminates the need for hospitals, schools, parks, and even budget proposals. It kills us all. Our nuclear luck will run out. And if it doesn’t run out soon, the military’s destruction of the climate and our water and air will do us in. While it may be taboo to notice the environmental damage of wars and war preparations, and may be strictly forbidden to become aware of the military budget as the potential source for a serious effort to mitigate the coming environmental collapse, the news is now full of stories of the climate destruction of military bases, which ought to at least make people aware of how many bases there are.
Polls have shown for decades that the U.S. public favors reducing military spending. Numerous U.S. cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have repeatedly urged Congress to move money from militarism to human and environmental needs. But, year after year, Congress and the President have done just the opposite.
This trend has now reached extreme levels, with the Pentagon, “Homeland Security,” and nuclear weapons in the “Energy” Department amounting to 63 percent of discretionary spending in Trump’s 2020 budget request. The Veterans Administration is another 7 percent. That leaves 30 percent for absolutely everything you’ve ever been told costs a government any money.
Trump wants to increase this year’s $716 billion Pentagon budget to $750 billion for next year, including $165 billion off-the-books, outside of budget caps.
In the Republican-run Senate, the Budget Committee has advanced a resolution that would provide $576 billion for the Pentagon, and $543 billion for everything else.
In the Democratic-run House, the Budget Committee sent to the full House a resolution that would have handed over $733 billion to the Pentagon, and some $650 billion for everything else. But progressives are intent on doing the decent thing and adding a bit more to the “everything else” side of the death sentence.
Non-military spending is at a historic low relative to the size of the U.S. economy, at just 2.9 percent. If all human and environmental needs had any supporting institution along the lines of NATO, Trump would be demanding that all of its members pay more. That would go on until Trump discovered that everyone other than the United States already was paying much more.
The United States and the earth are in desperate need of useful investment in green energy, education, infrastructure, healthcare, food, and water. We urgently need to move hundreds of billions out of the military and into a Green New Deal. The out-of-the-military part of that is the most important part for our survival.
Earlier this year, Trump himself called $716 billion for militarism “crazy” and proposed reducing it. This past Thursday, Trump celebrated increased military spending by NATO members, and told the Vice Premier of China that he thought the United States and China and Russia were spending much too much. China spends less than a third and Russia less than 10 percent what the U.S. spends.
The U.S. government really does give “crazy” a bad name, and it really does need an external enemy, real or imagined, as its fundamental justification for existing. If Russiagate didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent it. Just hope that what’s invented next isn’t worse.