Congress is starting work on next year’s Pentagon budget, and the hawks like Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) are already pushing to authorize tens of billions of dollars more than the Pentagon even asked for. But throwing more money at the Pentagon doesn’t make sense. In fact, overspending on defense will make us less safe by increasing the chances of unnecessary wars and diverting resources from more urgent challenges.
For starters, it’s important to understand just how enormous the Biden administration’s Pentagon budget proposal is, even before Congress moves to add billions more. At $813 billion, the Biden request would be one of the highest levels of spending ever — far more than was spent at the peak of the Korean or Vietnam wars and over $100 billion more than at the height of the Cold War.
The proposed Pentagon budget also dwarfs what the administration is proposing to spend on other ways of protecting America and the world. The proposed defense budget is almost 20 times as much as the amount the administration would allocate to address climate change. And just one weapon system — the troubled F-35 combat aircraft program — is slated to get as much as the discretionary budget for the Centers for Disease Control.
All of the above underscores the reality that funding for programs that will make America and the world a safer place is not unlimited: choices will need to be made. And the biggest threats to lives and livelihoods worldwide are non-military in nature – including a pandemic that has killed millions worldwide, the accelerating ravages caused by climate change, hunger and poverty, and racial and economic injustice. Congress and the administration should give these problems top priority in crafting next year’s budget rather than mindlessly throwing more money at the Pentagon.
Read the full article in Forbes.