OPINION

Letter: U.S. military spending at the expense of other needs is unconscionable

Submitted by Chuck Goyette
Crookston Times

    It’s important to know how our tax dollars are spent.

    Over 50% of the $1.48 trillion proposed Fiscal Year 2021 “Discretionary Budget” (the portion of the Federal Budget acted on by the President and Congress each year) will go to the Department of Defense (the Pentagon) and the other 21 departments/agencies will have to share the remaining 50% of the budget. For example:

    • Veterans Administration (Yes, this should also be under “Defense”): $105 billion, or 7%

    • Health/Human Services: $96 billion, or 6%

    • Education: $67 billion, or 5%

    • Homeland Security: $50 billion, or 3%

    U.S. military spending will exceed the annual spending of the next 10 countries combined! With only 5% of the world’s population, U.S. taxpayers will pay for 50% of the total world’s military spending. That’s unconscionable!

    China, considered a “rival,” spends $178 billion on its military budget. Russia, an “enemy,” spends $42 billion, and other “enemies” Iran and North Korea spend $14 billion and $4 billion, respectively.

    The COVID-19 pandemic should inspire a focus on national priorities. When COVID-19 hit in January 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control budget was an embarrassing 1.5% of the annual military budget ($740 billion), leaving us with the biggest military on earth and at the mercy of this deadly virus.

    The solution: Cut 10% ($74 billion) from the highly bloated defense budget and therefore cover not only COVID-19 but other glaring needs.

    1. Conduct two billion COVID-19 tests.

    2. Purchase enough N95 facemasks for the 55 million essential workers.

    3. Provide full healthcare for more than 800,000 COVID-19 patients.

    In addition, for only 10% of the 2021 military budget we could:

    1. End homelessness for every one of the more than half a million homeless at an annual cost of $30,000 per person, or

    2. Fund free college education for two million low-income students, or

    3. Hire 900,000 new public elementary teachers, adding nine teachers to every school in the U.S.

    It is a fact that by cutting military spending by just 10% we could provide affordable housing, rebuild our education system, provide free college tuition and meet our vital healthcare needs. The choice is ours: More war? Or more peace, jobs, education and healthcare at home! Peace and health to all!

Chuck Goyette

Red Lake Falls, Minnesota