The atmosphere of fear, distrust, anger, and, for some, celebration, permeates our present and obscures clear thinking. We lose sight of truths that are right in front of our noses. The bipartisan addiction to military spending is one of those truths.
This is no attempt to put “lipstick on the pig,” as Donald Trump becomes the next president of the U.S. He will likely vie with G.W. Bush for the title of the worst U.S. president. But even the blind sow can occasionally find the acorn. Trump has stated that “the F-35 program and cost is out of control,” a sound opinion on a program that is slated to cost over $1.4 trillion. Not surprisingly, some of his next tweets urge a bigger military budget and a renewal of the nuclear arms race.
It has gone almost unnoticed that the Pentagon budget for FY 2017, approved by both houses of Congress earlier in 2016 for $612 billion, recently got increased to $619 billion. It has gone almost unnoticed that the Pentagon buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste.
Both presidential candidates professed the need to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and to reduce the national debt. Neither spoke the obvious — that infrastructure improvements and debt reduction are impossible unless we reduce our military budget. Our national budget is a reflection of our values. When 54 percent of federal discretionary spending goes to the Pentagon, it’s not just a matter of money, it’s a reflection of our moral values.