The Costs and Benefits of Increased Military Spending

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Dallin Mello

Donald Trump has made “Keeping Americans safe” a core value the start of his presidency. Trump showed his commitment to this slogan through his latest plan to increase the military spending by $54 billion dollars. This proposition has caused a public outcry as Americans wonder what the consequences of such a decision would be.

The United States spends the most money of any country on military budgets at $598.5 billion dollars annually, which accounts for over 54% of all federal spending. America is followed by China at $144.2 billion dollars. Through this spending, our country is supporting constant wars around the world in order to increase access to oil and political power.

Currently, the highly-anticipated budget blueprint outlining the tax spending for the American government has yet to be released, but Trump plans to take government spending from a variety of programs ranging from the departments of health, education, and environment to pay for the increase in military spending.

Through this expansion of military spending the White House calls for a 24% cut to the EPA’s budget, according to the Trump administration. This in itself could have detrimental results to the environment in which we live in. Currently, the agency has a budget of 8.1 billion dollars, but through this program there would be a 2 billion dollar decrease, something that has not been seen since Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Environmentalists are speaking out to stop the spending cuts to the EPA. Such a move would have a huge impact on environmental health, which affects the health of our citizens. Through the EPA, a variety of steps are taken to ensure public safety, including the protection of lands, species, and water quality for citizens to drink.

The EPA would not be the only program affected. According to the New York Times, other agencies that would be affected by this plan would be the I.R.S, where budgets would be slashed by 14%. With these cuts to the I.R.S. budget, the amount of investigations towards tax fraud, money laundering, identity theft, and cyber crime would decrease. These budget cuts would inevitably lead to more crime in the financial sector.

With all this in mind, we must question whether cuts in various programs will benefit the well-being of our citizens.

Though there is an opposition to more military spending, many believe that it will benefit our country. With the increase of foreign terrorism, people feel as though the increase in military spending will increase our safety. Groups such as ISIS provoke fear throughout our country, leading to the belief that with a larger military budget we will be able to increase our technology, training, and border control workforce, enabling our borders and citizens to be protected.

This increase in spending may provide other benefits as well. According to former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, the military provides over 3.5 million individuals with jobs. Without these jobs our unemployment rate would go from 9.5% to over 11.5%. Therefore, more military spending will decrease the unemployment rate and provide more citizens with work.

Only time will tell how such an increase in spending would affect our lives. An increase in military spending may be beneficial in the sense of providing citizens with work, scholarships, and protection. Though these benefits are helpful, where is the line drawn between too much military spending when these funds could be implemented elsewhere? This is something for the citizens to speak up and decide upon together to create a better country for us to live in.

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