February 10, 2016

WELCOME TO THE ZOO | Military Spending

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Welcome To The Zoo Logo - colorWith an open mind and two sides of the story, you’re bound to learn something new.

Welcome to the zoo! This is a blog where both the Republican and Democrat viewpoints are represented. The blog is not meant to sway you either way necessarily, just present both sides of the story. You may not agree with the whole article, but hey, you’re likely to agree with half! The topic this week: Military spending.

STANCE 1

In the fiscal year of 2015, military spending, which includes operations and maintenance, military personnel and research and development, accounted for $598.5 billion, or 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending. This is not an intimidating number when taking into account that the size of the federal budget was $3.18 billion that year. The largest sum of money allotted to the military is the military’s base budget, which is used to fund the procurement of military equipment and daily operations. Part of the budget is set aside for new weapons systems, which, in 2015, included the Marine Corps’ new F-35 fifth-generation fighter and Virginia-class nuclear-powered submarines to modernize the US submarine fleet.

However, some people argue that the military budget should be cut. To those people I say, consider the following cases of superfluous spending by the United States government. In 2011, $702,558 was used to fund a study that brought television and gas generators to 14 remote Vietnamese villages to evaluate the impact of television watching on family formation and reproductive health. In addition, the International Center for History of Electronic Games received $113,277 to conduct a conservation survey of video games. Worse still was the $10 million spent on remaking Sesame Street characters into a show called SimSim Humara for the Pakistani market. This frivolous spending is the problem, not the military budget.

Military spending should not be cut. Tax dollars should go towards protecting the homeland from foreign invasion and protecting our allies around the world – not bringing childhood television shows around the world.

Conservatively yours,

Katie

STANCE 2

In 2015, the United States government had a military and defense budget of $598.5 billion. This is more money than the next seven highest spending countries allow for military expenditures combined. 54 percent of all of the federal discretionary spending in America is allocated to military spending. In contrast, only $70 billion is spent on education yearly, which is a mere six percent of the discretionary spending budget. Rather than spend such an inordinate amount of money on our military, the United States government should shift military spending elsewhere, such as toward domestic infrastructure, education and jobs. Decreasing military spending will not harm employment, nor will it negatively affect consumer income or spending. Of course, we cannot drastically alter our military budget immediately, but in time we can slowly decrease it and redirect the funds to benefit domestic life in America. Furthermore, reducing our military spending could jumpstart bringing many of our overseas troops home. There are many locations in which the United States Army is no longer fighting, and troops abroad in those regions is definitely unnecessary. Right now, we are not involved in a world war, nor are we directly fighting a particular region in defense of our land. There is simply no need for our government to allocate so much money to the military.

Love,

The Donkey (who is glad to be back in Ithaca rambling about politics!)

Katie Barlow is a sophomore biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences. When not debating politics, she can be found running half marathons and eating nutella by the spoonful. If you’re up for a chat, Katie can be reached at kmb324@cornell.edu.

Rebecca Saber is a sophomore government major in the College of Arts and Sciences. She aspires to be Secretary of State, but is willing to settle for Supreme Court Justice. When she is not writing about politics, Rebecca can be found watching TV in her bed or at some musical theater rehearsal. If you want to chat, Rebecca can be reached at rms432@cornell.edu.

Welcome to the Zoo appears on alternate Wednesdays this semester.

One thought on “WELCOME TO THE ZOO | Military Spending

  1. Rebbecca: I agree to the fact that there are normally two sides to every position/stance. As a retired Naval Officer there are a few items you shouls be aware of. I uspect that you may not bethat knowledgeable concerning these items, specifically:
    1. The military has been signficantly decreased in size and capabilities since president Regan left office. For example we had well over 900 ships ready for sea, now we have less than 300, lowest number in many decades. If more than one major event happended and the Navy was needed there is no way the Navy could support a major crisis for more than a few weeks at best.
    2. The nuber of military personnel has been drasticlly cut. here again the Military would not be able to support any major outbreak/operation for more than a short period of time.
    3. Military members have been strtched to the limit over th past8 to 10 years. Long and frequest deployments have been the norm. How would you like to be sent overseas for 8-12 months, return to the US and 3-4 months later be sent off again for 8-12 months and then have this happen again for a second otr third time. This has caused the highest diovorce rate of any group in the US. being away from your family for extended periods of time again and again is not fun, nor is the chance of being shot or killed something to look forward to.
    4. Military members are paid well below their equivalent in the civilian world. There is really is no equivalent to what danger US service members experience nor the continued deployments. Additionally the benefits that use to be provided have been cut year after yyear by Congress. it use to be that the smajority of Congress had either been in the military or had immediate familymembers in the military so they could easily relate to what servicemembers weregoing through. When i joined the US Navy I was promised certain things such as medical care, commissary services ect. Now service membrs no longer are guaranteed these. As a retiree I now have to purchase supplementary medical insurance, pay for prescriptions and worry about further costs being passed onto me as I grow older, as well as reduced services being offered at VA medical centers.
    No one ever joined the military to get rich, but most join to serve and protect the United States. By reducing funding for the military we need to think seriously of the repercussions. I would hope that you rethink your position and wonder what would happen if N. Korea or Iran or some other country sends missiles capable of klling many Americans if we do not have sufficient equipment and personnel to stop any threat to our lives and safety of America. Yes there is a trade off. I would rather keep us safe than risk the possibility of a major war against the US. I also beleive that US service members should receive adequate medical services, have proper training and have the right equipment to protect them from harms way as well as protecting American citizens from foreiggn threats. One final point, keeping US service members in contry’s like South Korea and Germany, not only helps prevent wars, but also provides safety from unwanted agresion by other foreign governments. If we were to leave S. Korea , N. Korea would most likely start another Korean War. Our presence acts as a deterrent.

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