Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Federal Budget: PBS isn't the problem

Many people would agree that government spending is out of control. Trump has made promises to balance the budget and cut spending. Yet he also promises to build a military "so strong... nobody is gonna mess with us".

Trump has looked at cutting funds to social programs, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Environmental Protection Agency. But these cuts are mere nickels and dimes compared to what he promises to increase to the military piece of the pie. If Trump has his way, 68% of the federal budget will go strictly toward veteran's affairs, homeland security, nuclear weapons, and other military spending. And that's before we engage in additional war efforts.

And who benefits from all of this spending? Surely Trump would have you believe that it is you: the American citizen who is being protected from all of those nasty terrorists out there.

As it turns out, the biggest beneficiaries are all of the contractors who make the weapons, planes, and tanks (all of the toys that our president believes we must have). According to William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, the biggest beneficiary are contractors like "Lockheed Martin, which received more than $36 billion in defense-related contracts in fiscal 2015 (the most recent year for which full statistics are available). To put that figure in perspective, Lockheed Martin’s federal contracts are now larger than the budgets of 22 of the 50 states. The top 100 defense contractors received $175 billion from the Pentagon in fiscal year 2015, nearly one-third of the Department of Defense’s entire budget." (source)

In a time where the way war looks is changing and the focus is quickly turning to technology and information, why are we continuing to spend billions of dollars on new military toys? What does our government have to show for 16 years at war in the Middle East?

If we really want to balance the budget, we will start by taking a chunk out of the military piece of the pie.

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