Jun 22, 2011 | By Andi Hinnenkamp, NETWORK Intern
This week will begin the debate for the Department of Defense appropriations. With a military budget of $513.03 billion, set to increase by 3.3% with the FY12 allocations to $530.03 billion, none of these figures even include the funding the DOD will get for war funds (House Appropriations Committee table Compiled by Coalition on Human Needs http://www.chn.org/pdf/2011/HouseCutsFY12.pdf). This is a ridiculous amount of spending, when considering that the rest of the committee budgets will be reduced. Not only is the DOD the committee with the largest amount of appropriations, but it will also be seeing an increase.
The frustrating part of this whole budget ordeal is that people are saying that EVERYONE must feel the pain of budget reductions. Yet, it seems to me by lowering the amount of appropriations to every department except defense, that in fact congress is targeting a very select group of people in our country. Those who are most in need, the elderly, poor, and children are being the ones most affected by these cuts.
I would like to point out that also as politicians argue that most of the money Defense is asking for is going toward soldiers and their families, it is not. Most of the money must not be going to recruitment nor helping families because the amount for these things has not been raised for many years. And actually, the families of soldiers are likely the very families the cuts are hurting, since most soldiers come from middle to low income families. Politicians need to be better educated before they make such promises as saying everyone will feel effects.
Also, a lot of people are talking about streamlining and cutting out inefficient or programs that are not of top priority right now. People are saying this must happen in every area of the budget, yet this is not happening in defense spending. How fair is a budget proposal that is not only forcing cuts but also insisting that programs be reviewed for efficiency, yet the largest chunk of the discretionary budget is left out?
With the debate beginning this week, there is still time to voice an opinion on the DOD. Whether you would like to see large decreases in the military budget or just see a fairer budget, speak up. For most Americans, a strong military is not the top priority, which is exactly opposite of what many in Congress will tell you is our top priority. Personally, I would like to see a government who is more concerned about creating peace than squelching out violence with more violence. So whatever your take may be against the military budget, it is not too late to speak up. Your voice is important in this stressful budget time.