Monday, April 18, 2022

Does the United States spend too much on defense?

            Often in the United States one may hear people complaining about how much the United States spends on the defense budget every year. The amount is high with roughly ten percent of the United States annual budget being spend on defense spending. It is common for people to think defense spending means the money is being spent on upgrading technology that may never be used like ballistic missile submarines, which will hopefully remain in this category, or a space face that the general public believes in unnecessary. But is the national budget really being spent frivolously like the public seems to believe or is the United States just paying the price of security. 


            One of the many arguments that the United States is overspending on the defense budget is that the United States defense budget is the highest in the world. In 2021 the United States defense budget was 705 billion dollars. China came in second behind the United States at around 250 million in 2021. A five hundred million dollar difference between the first and second highest spenders is a significant difference. Despite this one has to keep in mind that other countries are likely not being entirely transparent about their defense spending. Most scholars estimate that China is spending significantly more than they are willing to admit though they are still estimated to be spending less than the United States.


            It also is important for the United States security that they continue to spend enough to ensure they have access to the best and newest technology. While some of this technology may seem unnecessary, like never used ballistic missile submarines, there are several reasons to continue spending on things like this. Should the United States ever need this technology it is there and ready to go, no time is wasted in developing and implementing new things during an emergency. It is also possible that some things that seem unnecessary now may not be in the long run. A space force for example may seem silly now as people think of it like Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy but having a force that can protect United States satellites in space will likely be an integral part of security in the not-so-distant future. 


            It is also easy to forget all the other things the United States defense budget is paying for. There are over two million people employed in the United States military and all of those people get a salary. On top of a salary the defense budget also provides healthcare for all two million of those people. Aside from paying personnel the defense budget goes towards the upkeep and maintenance of facilities and arms. Public opinion on the defense budget is often skewed with the public not having a full understanding of what the United States is paying for and why these things are so important. 

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