ANGLES: Increased defense budget: a matter of safety or waste of resources?

Tax dollars are necessary in other areas


image4 (1)The current United States defense budget is just under $700 billion. This budget exceeded the $549 budget cap set in 2011 by the Budget Control Act. 

The increased budget includes the addition of 20,300 more troops, a new branch of the Air Force called the Space Corps, as well as the purchase of 90 F-35 stealth fighter planes and a $4 billion increase toward missiles. 

I find myself wondering how much of this spending is necessary. After all, taxpayers’ dollars are contributing to that defense budget. Why should our hard-earned dollars go toward defense spending when half of that spending is just for the intimidation factor? 

The military has a nasty history of overspending and misreporting their accounts. In 2015, the Defense Department’s Inspector General discovered $6.5 trillion worth of incorrect accounting, topping it off with a lack of receipts or numbers to back them up. 

Instead of putting federal tax dollars toward the ever-rising defense budget, we should distribute that $6.5 trillion plus toward improving education, increasing benefits for veterans (where we only allocate 5 percent) and expanding crop subsidies. 

The U.S. ranks 14th in educational performance, coming in below Canada and the United Kingdom—the countries we often look for comparison. 

There are many schools that have had to cut extracurricular programs like theatre, debate, robotics, music and sports because their budgets didn’t provide staff that allow these activities to remain.

Yearly decreases in funding give school districts the unpleasant task of picking and choosing what they will no longer offer to students. 

We need to do better for the students who will be in charge of this nation one day. We need to provide the opportunities for exploration of interests and personal development so that we know the young people we are setting forth into the world will make it better.

We should put more money towards veterans benefits. It is disgusting that today in America we have over 39,471 homeless veterans. These are people who have put their lives on hold to protect our country and fight for the values we hold. 

Whether I personally agree with our involvement in wars and foreign affairs or not, I believe that the people who take time away from their families and are deployed into far away countries should have a home and healthcare.

We cannot claim to have proud reverence for those who fight for our country when our veterans are treated poorly so often.

Additionally, we should put money toward expanding crop subsidies. Most subsidies go toward large cash crops such as corn, wheat, soybeans and rice. 

Makes sense, right? Those crops are a large, easy food source. Those crops are subsidized, cost less to produce because of the subsidies and that’s why your Cheez-Its are so cheap. 

I understand the need for these crops to be subsidized; however, if we started subsidizing healthier (and more expensive) crops, such as apples, strawberries, asparagus and carrots, we would have a healthier nation. 

We have so many other places that need funding and improvement. Our tax dollars do not need to go towards making the U.S. look like a big boy.

Shauna Pauli is a sophomore English and journalism major from Milbank, S.D.

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