Military spending should be rebudgeted

EHS student and Zephyrus writer Greyson Mize shares his opinions on why it’s time for America to effectively budget our resources

Greyson Mize, sports & activities beat lead

In 2017, the United States spent 783.1 billion dollars on military defense operations, not including the cost of warfare. TheBalance, an economic newsletter, reports by the end of 2018 that amount is expected to jump by 22.3 billion, reaching an all-time high at 805.4 billion with 69 billion going to overseas affairs. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, this amount is greater than the military budgets for China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the U.K, India, France, Japan, Germany, and South Korea combined. However, while military funds skyrocket, less than ten percent of 2018’s expenditure are set to go to Veterans Affairs, the area in which additional funding is needed most. In an age of economic growth in America, the federal government should be rebudgeting their enormous military costs, cutting down on the overall spending range to incentivize efficiency and put money towards the mental and physical health of the brave men and women who have served.

Many minds jump to headlines about ISIS and other terrorist groups operating in the Middle East and Africa when thinking about the U.S Military budget in the modern age. However, most of the funds for foreign anti-terrorist efforts are contained within the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget, which is separate from the base budget, Veterans Affairs, intelligence, and security funds entirely. The OCO’s budget of 69 billion for 2018 is only around nine percent of the total expenditure, leaving 805.4 billion for domestic affairs. Benjamin H. Friedman, a research fellow in defense and homeland security studies at the CATO Research Institute, argues that the domestic allowance is far too large, and focuses primarily on improbable fears of invasion in a technologically advanced and geographically secure nature. Manufactured lies and scare tactics surrounding mass-scale invasion from our southern border have fueled the political scene in America, specifically during President Trump’s 2016 campaign and victory. However, they are unfounded, paranoid, and an example of funds going to waste. In America, “the land of plenty,” wealth is often seen as a resource that should grow dramatically with time, but money doesn’t always fix problems. Cutting down on enormous spending costs funding extreme border control measures would both promote efficiency within our military, and allow money to be put towards healthcare and psychology resources for serving soldiers and veterans.

According to the 2014 Veterans Health Administration Report, twenty percent of national suicides are comprised of U.S Veterans, meaning twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day. In 2017, 100 patients at the Los Angeles VA hospital died waiting for health care and more than 300,000 veterans in total have died in the same position over the past few decades. The officials in charge of Veterans Affairs have historically made harmful spending decisions with the VA budget, including changing a short-term construction plan for a VA hospital in Aurora, Colorado to incorporate a 1.7 billion dollar “shopping mall design” that extended the wait time for veterans in need of care upwards of two years, spending 20 million dollars on art from 2004 to 2014, and giving out 117 million in bonuses to employees. This money needs to go towards the rehabilitation of the men and women who have fought for our country. Expanding the VA budget and implementing policies to regulate areas of expenditure for VA funds with a primary focus on healthcare and psychological resources would greatly impact U.S veterans for the better.

Countries function like businesses in more ways than one, particularly involving the fiscal aspect of government. Cutting costs where they’re not necessary and increasing funds and regulations where they’re needed help any organized system perform best. Young men and women enlisting need to be supported far past their service, specifically in readjusting to civilian life with problems their combat-oriented career have created. By making these changes, the U.S military will function more efficiently and be able to support the soldiers it creates.