Divided State of America's Heather Gardner calls out wasteful United States military spending
The Divided State of America with Heather Gardner called out the United States government for spending too much money on the military while neglecting other important needs such as pandemic preparedness and education on Thursday night's episode.
After the country's disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic in addition to its mediocre world rankings in freedom, happiness, standard of living and healthcare (all of which Gardner gets to in the episode) it can really make you wonder. What is the United States spending its more than $4 trillion budget on?
As Gardner points out in the episode below, the military.
The United States' budget is broken up into three categories: mandatory spending, discretionary spending, and interest on the national debt.
Mandatory spending consists of items like social security, medicare, medicaid, and SNAP assistance totaling around 60 percent of the US budget or $2.96 trillion, via the Balance.
Discretionary spending consists of domestic programs and the military. The government spent $676 billion on the military alone in 2019, per the CBO.
With the government bringing in about $3.5 trillion in 2019 revenue, the country spent about 21 percent of your tax dollars and over half of the $1.3 trillion discretionary budget on defense.
The defense spending is excessive and not necessary to stay the dominant military force in the world as the US outspends the closest 11 countries combined. Instead, the outsized defense spending takes away from other areas of the US economy that could get much-needed aid.
For example, the remainder of the discretionary budget, sadly less than half, goes to domestic programs such as health and human services, education, and housing and urban development. General science is also included in that bucket. Maybe the pandemic wouldn't have been as bad if the government didn't line the military's pockets with cash and alternatively funded more science initiatives to help slow the spread of the virus.
With all the pressing issues facing America domestically, Gardner is right to point out the gigantic military spending in the government budget. America needs to invest in its future domestically and that can't be done if the military is seeing more money from the government every year than the domestic programs that are supposed to help improve American's daily lives at home.
Even if Democrats want to fix the discretionary budget and allocate more cash to important domestic initiatives, Republican Mitch McConnell still stands in the way and can use the filibuster.
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Ryan is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and majored in Business Journalism. He has written in the past for SB Nation's Silver and Black Pride, USA Today Sports Media Group, North Carolina Business News Wire, the Daily Tar Heel, and has worked with Ice Cube's BIG3 basketball league.