President Trump Must Defend Increase in Defense Spending

President Trump is proposing a $54 billion spending increase for the military. To help pay for this spending increase, Trump’s budget proposal also includes major cuts to spending on foreign aid and climate change research. We need to know why the military needs this money if we’re going to make drastic cuts to other important spending priorities.

Unfortunately, the budget proposal doesn’t properly explain the need for this new military spending. Missing from the proposal is a strategy for how this influx of money will be used to meet our defense needs. The only explanation for increased spending is the need to step up our fight against “radical Islamic terrorism”. However, the budget proposal doesn’t explain how this new money will be used to win the war against this so-called terrorism.

The United States already spends an exorbitant amount of money on our military. Our world-leading defense budget is three times greater than China’s, which has the second largest defense budget. The United States military budget is greater than the combined spending of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, India, France, Japan, Germany, South Korea and Brazil. President Trump needs to explain why he wants to spend even more money on our already bloated military budget.

President Trump says America has a “need for [military] superiority” over rival nations in all possible theaters of battle. For a moment, let’s accept President Trump’s premise that our military spending is preventing the United States from outmatching our adversaries who we’re already outspending. If that’s the case, then the logical assumption is that our military is a wasteful organization.

Let’s imagine our military is a Fortune 500 company, Donald Trump is the CEO and he’s asking board members to approve this increased spending. CEO Trump cites a need to overtake a rival business (China) as the reason for increased spending. Would the board ever support increased spending to best an adversary who is eating their company’s lunch while spending three times less than them? No — they would fire CEO Trump for wasteful spending.

This increased military spending is not only wasteful; it’s superfluous, especially at a time when our country is not fighting an active war with another nation state. Perhaps President Trump needs to encourage the Department of Defense to practice fiscal discipline. The President is asking other Federal agencies to do more with less; why should the military be excluded from this mandate?

As expected, Trump’s usual critics are against this increased spending and are asking him to slash the military budget. We also need President Trump’s supporters to be critical of this new military spending and ask why it’s needed. Their fiscally conservative philosophy shouldn’t stop when it comes to defense spending. Where’s the outrage from fiscal conservatives when it comes to wasteful military spending?

President Trump’s critics and supporters deserve a coherent explanation of this increased military spending before it’s approved. Wasteful military spending cannot continue.

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