Defense spending is seen as a matter of national security. It is undeniably important to spend money on the military, but when does it become too much? If spending isn’t restrained, the country will end up selling out national security to the highest bidder.
Like many others before it, the Bush administration has declared itself to be for a stronger, safer America and believes that spending on military issues must take precedence over spending on social issues.
According to an analysis conducted by The Washington Post, the new $2.5-trillion budget proposal contains cuts to 150 programs spanning virtually all aspects of everyday life. In the meantime, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are estimated to have cost the U.S. taxpayers upward of $300 billion.
The cuts and the ballooning costs of military involvement abroad are undeniably intertwined. Even more troubling, though, is that high-ranking U.S. officials often act blasÃ© about putting the nation in debt.
Vice President Dick Cheney has said on the record, “Deficits don’t matter.” He, like many others, believes in “trickle down” concepts of giving tax cuts and other benefits to the top moneymakers. They believe this will stimulate the economy and indirectly benefit even those that may not have received the tax cuts themselves. President Ronald Reagan famously downplayed other approaches as “voodoo economics” and believed this supply-side approach was in the nation’s best interests.
But this approach works only if the economy is thriving. By putting the nation into debt, the government takes a gamble. If the economy does not start thriving, the budget will remain in the red. The recent budget proposal is a prime example of this occurring.
The House Budget Committee Democrats estimate President George W. Bush’s tax cuts will bear a price tag of $6.1 trillion in deficit spending over the next decade. The Post agreed with this assessment, adding that the expenses would peak just after President Bush would leave office in 2009.
The delicious irony is that the fervor to spend money on the military creates deficits that have to be filled by borrowing money abroad. What was intended to make America stronger and independent is now tying the country down. Foreign nations can threaten the United States by simply raising the possibility they may call in on their debt.
In the end, it does not matter how well equipped the U.S. military is if it can easily be taken hostage by foreign investors.