Donald Trump surprised both parties last Monday when he announced his intention to increase military spending by $54 billion, which is nearly a 10 percent increase of the total military budget.
Allocating $54 billion to military spending means that money has to come out of other federal programs. Trump has hinted that Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency are among the programs getting cut to accommodate for military spending, and he vowed to refrain from Medicaid and Social Security.
Many wonder why this proposal was made considering the amount the country spends on the military already. There’s no doubt that the United States has the most powerful military in the world, but do we need to be more powerful than we already are?
“We have to start winning wars again,” President Trump said at the White House Monday. “When I was young, in high school and college, everybody used to say we never lost a war. And now we never win a war. We never win.”
Our military spending is astronomically larger compared to other major nations. The United States spends approximately $600 billion on defense every year, which is higher than the next seven highest spenders in the world combined. To compare, the United Kingdom spends approximately $55 billion on its military every year, and we are only just adding that amount to our total budget.
The biggest question is, what is Trump preparing for?
According to Trump, the proposal was made to “rebuild the depleted military.” But $54 billion sounds like we’re getting ready for another war, not rebuilding. War should be the last option possible between nations, and Trump’s pro-war rhetoric sounds like we’re trying to pick a fight.
And if this really is to protect the American people, why is Trump cutting the budget for education and energy? These are important domestic programs that are essential to building a successful society. It almost seems like Trump has no interest in rebuilding our education system or improving our environment, which have suffered from constant budget cuts in recent years.
According to National Priorities, our federal budget for education and energy make up 3 percent and 1 percent of total federal expenditures, respectively. And we’re going to cut it even further? Until more teachers are out of jobs? Until our water is full of lead? Would the American people rather go to war than improve the future of our children?
For students at the University of Oregon, we’re used to hearing the words “budget cut.” As a result of cutting education spending over the years, our tuition has increased dramatically, topping off at a 10 percent increase for in-state students in the coming year.
With the rising cost of tuition and increased number of layoffs, we should be funding our education sector, not cutting them.
The United States is 58th in the world in education spending. How can we call ourselves the greatest nation in the world when we don’t value our educational resources? Unfortunately, it’s not in Trump’s interest to help Americans this way. He plans to help Americans by keeping them safe with increased militarization, but sadly, that doesn’t contribute to our domestic progress.
As for the environment, we’re in deep trouble.
Donald Trump doesn’t have any intention to help the fight against climate change, with his cabinet and party mostly denying that it exists. He plans to cut spending on the EPA by 70 percent, leaving it with only a $6 billion budget.
Contrary to what Trump’s cabinet believes, climate change is the world’s biggest threat. According to Business Insider, the northern tip of Antarctica has reached a record high of 63.5 degrees.
If the Trump administration does not act on the rapid effects of climate change, we might as well say goodbye to a healthy planet.
We should be spending our resources on programs that benefit the American people, and right now, increasing the military budget does not directly affect citizens. His rhetoric suggests that we should want to win wars and go into battle, but he forgets that this state of mind is what kills soldiers, civilians, women and children.
Education should be our priority, considering that 21 percent of adults read below a 5th grade level. We should focus on clean energy and protecting our environment, but we’re not going to make strides with a 70 percent budget cut to the EPA.
At this rate, the future looks bleak for anybody who cares about the wellbeing of our country. Throughout his campaign, Trump promised America first. Right now, America looks very well on its way to becoming last.
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