Billions for War: Whatever Happened to Building Back Better?

May 30th, 2021 - by Win Without War

$753 Billion for the Pentagon Could Go a Long Way Toward…

Win Without War

 (May 29, 2021) — At an eye-popping $753 BILLION, President Biden’s just-released FY2022 Pentagon budget is an increase on even Trump’s highest levels. Here are just five (of many) examples of gross misspending at the Pentagon and ideas for how to reinvest that money to actually help our communities.

  1. $1.727 trillion spent on a faulty fighter jet is enough for 20 million public housing units for a decade.
  2. $1.7 trillion for nuclear weapons over the course of 30 years could pay for 700,000 clean energy jobs for the same period.
  3. $125 billion in past bureaucratic waste could have bought 3.2 billion Covid-19 vaccines. (Don’t forget that the Pentagon has never passed an audit!)
  4. The top 5 weapons contractors raked in $150 billion in Pentagon contracts in 2020. That could have meant 10 years of wind power for 25 million households.
  5. Just one-third of the $204.6 billion in US security assistance from 2006-2016 (an amount that likely went to human rights abusers), would have paid for the healthcare of 1.9 million low-income adults for the same period.

These are the trade-offs made in our names every year. From these egregious cases of waste, one thing is clear: we’ve got to end the greedy corruption at the core of Pentagon budgets.

And it starts with Congress using its power of the purse to end irresponsible war and weapons spending by rejecting President Biden’s proposed Pentagon budget. 

Let’s make something clear: even if it wasn’t buying faulty airplanes, failing audits, or building unnecessary new nukes, the Pentagon would still have far too much money.

That’s because the problem isn’t simply “waste” — it’s a vast, overpowered global military empire. Cutting the Pentagon budget down to size will require more than just ending wasteful spending; it will require ending endless war, closing many of the 800-plus military bases around the globe, and addressing the consequences of US militarism and imperialism.

Because here’s what we know: Continuing to throw money at the war machine means we neglect addressing real security challenges like global health, climate change, and mass inequality. It’s a recipe for disaster and it’s time for a change.

President Biden’s budget dropped on Friday. 

Take a moment to pause and imagine what the world would look like if our top spending priority wasn’t war.

We believe that world is possible. And while there is still a long way to go, we’re seeing the results of people-powered wins at every turn — that includes an ever-growing coalition in Congress ready and willing to take unprecedented action to cut the Pentagon budget.

It’s grown because of the work we’ve done together. Because nothing is more powerful than activists (like yourself) pushing Congress to hear and address the needs of the PEOPLE.

ACTION: Can you help make sure every Hill inbox is filled with letters when staff get back to their offices next week?

Thank you for working for peace,
Faith, Amisha, Michael, and the Win Without War team

Throwing Money at the War Machine:
5 Cases of Pentagon Waste

Win Without War

President Biden is expected to request to increase Pentagon spending by $12.5 BILLION in Fiscal Year 2022, to a whopping total of $753 billion. Instead of investing in the health and safety of our communities, this budget will funnel more unaccountable money into the war machine. Here are just SOME of the things the Pentagon wastes money on:

The F-35: The most expensive, faulty combat plane in history

  • We’re spending $1.727 trillion on the flawed F-35 fighter jet program, when even the Air Force has admitted that the jets have failed — yet military contractors continue to lobby to produce more (and so far, Congress has complied). 

Enriching weapons contractor CEOs

  • Over half of the Pentagon budget goes to private contractors — companies that are rarely held accountable for mismanaging the services they provide while using federal funds to enrich their top executives with multi-million dollar salaries.

Redundant and dangerous new weapons of mass destruction

  • The US plans to spend upwards of $1.7 trillion on its nuclear weapons arsenal over the next 30 years, including to build an excessive new intercontinental ballistic missile called the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. The Pentagon’s rationale for building the GBSD is, simply put, absurd. The United States should be looking for ways it can eliminate these weapons of mass death, not continue their deployment for generations to come.

Mismanagement and profiteering at the Pentagon

  • The Pentagon has NEVER passed an audit due to its unaccountable spending. It also pays inflated prices for the military equipment and weapons it buys, driven by the profiteering of price-gouging contractors. 

Weapons and training for human rights abusers

  • Funded by both the Pentagon and State Department: the US provides “security assistance” and sells weapons to foreign militaries all over the world, with little assurance that they won’t be used against civilians or abused by corrupt elites. When abuses do occur, the US rarely holds partners accountable. 

We can’t continue throwing money at the war machine. The Pentagon’s spending spree does not keep us safe — it wastes hundreds of billions of dollars on war and enriching arms manufacturers. It’s time to cut the Pentagon budget and invest in peacebuilding, global health, racial justice, affordable housing, and climate solutions to truly build security for all. 

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