Guess What They Spend Our Taxes On
World BEYOND War & Roots Action
(July 15, 2020) — It’s tax day on an unusual date this year, but the taxes are largely for the same old misguided purposes, including corporate welfare, fossil fuel subsidies, mass incarceration, militarizing police, and above all waging and preparing for wars.
Trump’s 2021 budget request varies little from past years. It includes 55% of discretionary spending for militarism. (1) That leaves 45% of the money Congress votes on for everything else: environmental protections, energy, education, transportation, diplomacy, housing, agriculture, science, disease pandemics, etc., etc.
The priorities of the US government have been wildly out of touch with both morality and public opinion for decades, and have been moving in the wrong direction even as awareness of the crises facing us has inched upward.
It would cost less than 3% of US military spending, according to UN figures, to end starvation on earth, and about 1% to provide the world with clean drinking water. Less than 7% of military spending would wipe out poverty in the United States. (2)
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(1) “President Trump’s 2021 Budget Prioritizes the Pentagon” National Priorities Project
(2) “We Need $2 Trillion/Year For Other Things” World BEYOND War
“We Need $2 Trillion/ Year for Other Things”
World BEYOND War
(February 10, 2020) — President Trump released his fourth budget proposal today, and the priorities are crystal clear. Just four agencies rate spending increases in the Trump 2021 budget: the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Treasury Department. From Agriculture to Education, and from Commerce to State, every other federal agency would face cuts under the president’s proposal. Across the board, the Trump budget prioritizes brute force and military solutions over humanitarian and diplomatic ones.
Spends More on the Pentagon and Less to Alleviate Poverty
The Pentagon currently accounts for 53% of the discretionary federal budget. By 2030, the Trump budget would give 62% of the discretionary budget to the Pentagon.
This budget takes aim at millions of Americans who have fallen through the cracks of our winner-take-all economy, slashing Medicaid and food stamps and eliminating low-income heating aid and other programs at the same time that it throws billions more into the pockets of powerful military contractors.
In proposing cuts to domestic spending paired with a growing Pentagon budget, the President’s budget disregards the will of the American people. A majority of Americans support shifting Pentagon spending to domestic priorities, yet the president’s budget does the opposite.
Extends the War on Immigrants with More ICE, Border Patrol, Wall Funding
As expected, the president has continued his vendetta against immigrants and immigrant communities with this budget proposal. In addition to $2 billion in new constructions funds for a wall, the president has requested funds for additional border patrol agents and staff, ICE officers and staff, and for additional detention beds.
The cruelty of these policies should be enough to stop them, but to add insult to injury, the Trump immigration policies put the lie to the conservative claim that deficit reduction is among their highest priorities. Not only do walls and detention centers cost billions, but comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship would lead to reduced deficits.
Keeps the Wars but Scraps the Diplomacy
In the words of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.”
The president’s budget fully funds the forever wars in Afghanistan and Iraq at $69 billion and increases foreign military aid by $2 billion, but it cuts funds for diplomacy and development aid, and it completely eliminates $8 billion that Congress allocated for the State Department to conduct diplomacy and aid in war zones.
The president promised to end the wars, but doubling down on military funding while starving diplomacy seems designed to eliminate the chance for peaceful solutions.
Ignores the Real Threat: Climate Change
The president’s budget makes much of the fact that it directs its massive Pentagon budget to support a new, 21st-century focus on “great powers competition.” This recycling of a tired 20th century narrative about military superpowers fails to recognize climate change as the biggest threat to our security in the 21st century.
Solutions to climate change will require sustained federal investment in energy solutions, and in international cooperation and diplomacy to coordinate an effective worldwide response. Instead, this budget cuts funds for renewable energy programs and diplomacy, and encourages a competitive arms race when what we need is a cooperative energy race.