Thursday, June 18, 2020

The price of war

In 2019 alone (the last year for which worldwide spending figures are available), federal spending on the U.S. military soared to $732 billion.  (Other military analysts, who included military-related spending, put the figure at $1.25 trillion.)

  As a result, the United States, with about 4 percent of the world’s population, accounted for 38 percent of world military spending.  Although it’s certainly true that other nations engaged in military buildups as well, China
accounted for only 14 percent of global military spending that year, while Russia accounted for only 3 percent.  Indeed, the United States spent more on its military than the next 10 countries combined.

In February 2020, the administration introduced a 2021 fiscal year budget proposal that would devote 55 percent of the federal government’s $1.3 trillion discretionary spending to the military.  By 2030, the military proportion of the federal budget would rise to 62 percent.

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues with over 110,000 deaths thus far, a large portion of the economy has collapsed, unemployment has reached the catastrophic levels of the Great Depression, and American cities are torn by civil unrest Republican officials argue that  public assistance measures are “too expensive.” America cannot afford to address its deep problems in healthcare, educational opportunity, and decent housing. Military spending is affordable! America possesses 5,800 nuclear weapons, capable of being launched from land, sea, and air, and is presently involved in a vast “modernization” program to rebuild the entire nuclear arsenal.  The price tag for this enormous undertaking over the next three decades, has been estimated as at least $1.5 trillion.

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