President Obama just released his budget request for 2017. While there’s a lot for progressives to be pleased with, there’s one GIANT problem. The President’s requested budget for the Pentagon is $583 billion.
You read that right: The President is proposing that we spend $583 billion on the Pentagon next year, compared to just $69.4 billion for the Department of Education and $52.7 billion for the Department of State. The President’s budget will now head to Congress, where legislators will debate and vote on his proposal.
The federal budget is a statement of our shared priorities. Every dollar the Pentagon spends is a dollar less for early childhood education, nutrition assistance, and health care. It’s a dollar we don’t have to heal our veterans’ wounds after more than a decade of war. It’s a dollar we don’t have to fund diplomacy and international development to get at the root causes of conflicts. America has real security challenges, but we simply won’t solve them by buying weapons that don’t work and by padding the pockets of contractors.
If spending more money made us safer, we might understand throwing more than half a trillion dollars at America’s war machine. But we’ve spent 14 years throwing money into the Pentagon, and, trillions of dollars later, it has done little to keep us safe. Yet our military is still burdened with massive weapons boondoggles, like the F-35 jet, that cost billions, don’t work, and wouldn’t fight the threats we face today even if they did work.