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Opinion: Biden is thinking big about the job. At the Pentagon, he should think smaller.


The previous weeks brought a series of great proposals from President Joe Biden, from The employment plan is worth 2 trillion dollars still hot with a final plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan – and a strangely absurd demand for a larger military budget.

With domestic demand rising and America’s longest war scheduled to end long ago, it’s puzzling that the president will also call for an increase in the military budget—from 740 billion USD this year to 753 billion USD next year. More than twice approximately $ 280 billion in annual expenses of the infrastructure plan, the last thing the Pentagon budget needs is an increase – especially with the savings that come from withdrawing all troops from an endless and costly war.

Lack of clarity and density

As for its credit, the administration’s and new work plans Budget requirements for domestic spending Built on clear intentions to address our toughest issues – climate change, economic inequality, racism – but clarity and boldness are lacking when it comes to speaking. to a much larger military budget. With this latest increase, we could finally spend a lot more to make all of those problems worse.

During the Trump years, the annual military budget increased by more than $ 60 billion after adjusting for inflation. Instead of going back to the level of more savings, or even the highs we’ve seen in the Obama administration, the new demands keep the Pentagon on a path of relentless growth.

Was Spend more on the army now (in terms of inflation) compared to the peak period of the Korean War, the Vietnam War or the Cold War. The lion’s share of that money doesn’t belong to the army or their families. Instead, it is turned to private contractors – and fosters an increasingly better attitude toward military intervention.

In 2020, the private army Contractors earned $ 422 billion from the Ministry of Defense. In a typical year, military contracts amount to more than half of the military budget, and cover everything from major weapons systems and private security contractors to catering and telecommunications. . In one case last year, the Pentagon almost spent $ 1 billion is budgeted for the COVID-19 protective device on replacement jet parts and armor.

Boondoggle is expensive

Frantically supplying Pentagon contractors tends to be bipartisan affair, especially when it comes to juggernauts like F-35 jet fighters. Lockheed Martin
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Have all but guarantee the continuation of disaster F-35’s place F-35 contracts in 46 states—That gives members of Congress the right to spend that money in their counties.

Costing more than $ 1.7 trillion—almost equal to Biden’s entire infrastructure package—This aircraft is the most expensive weapon program in history. After decades of development, it still doesn’t work. But Congress has repeatedly attaching more F-35s orders from the Pentagon. Similar political dynamics protect a wide range of bases, service contracts and weapons systems – regardless of their value to national security.

The insistence on provision of the industrial-military complex is a tragedy as it increases the demand for weapons, which find your way in conflict zones around the world. And it’s crazy. Studies have shown that the same amount of money invested in clean energy, education or infrastructure – key areas for new job planning—will create more jobs, dollars for dollars.

The basic vision of national security underpinning all of this seems trapped in the 20th century vision of imperialism, characterized by 800 US military facilities around the world. The dangerously false belief that massive military investments can solve any problem is what has endured the United States in two costly and endless Middle East wars. made the world more dangerous. Those wars and bases also brought back the Pentagon carbon footprint is greater much more industrially developed countries.

Search for new villains

Even as those wars drag on, the US security state is now looking for a new villain, and the growing consensus in Washington is that China should play this role. Of course, this action in the face of panic would lead to an even greater dispersion of the Pentagon.

Fortunately, many more outside experts criticize this approach is dangerously short-sighted, threatening our ability to cooperate with China on public health and climate change, while sparking racism and violence against Asians this is home. We would be better off cooperating with China, even if we acknowledge and hold accountability for their (and our) human rights violations.

Biden’s relatively moderate infrastructure plan will further help our security by restoring clean water, mitigating climate change, and investing in communities more than most of our military budget. teams, at a cost less than half annually. Increasing polluting, destabilizing and poisonous Pentagon budgets undermine our ability to create real security by creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, ending racism and climate change prevention.

Biden has read the right timing by announcing a bold vision for domestic policy. He needs to do the same thing with the Pentagon.

Lindsay Koshgarian leads the National Priority Project at the Policy Research Institute.

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