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.


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,



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.


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.