Joe Biden signed a record-breaking defense budget even as his domestic agenda is languishing. We’re getting all of the Pentagon spending and anti-China saber-rattling — and none of the supposedly transformative social programs.
Stephen Semler is cofounder of Security Policy Reform Institute, a grassroots-funded US foreign policy think tank.
The US government is set to spend twice as much on the military as on Joe Biden’s social spending programs over ten years. Instead of apologizing for social spending, Biden should stop rubber-stamping defense spending and start using it as leverage.
Conservatives in both parties are blocking the current infrastructure and reconciliation bills on account of the price tag. But the record shows they’ve never objected to sky-high defense budgets.
The Pentagon’s 1033 program has allowed over $1.5 billion in military equipment to be given to local police departments. The House votes today on rolling 1033 back — but the Biden administration hasn’t lifted a finger to reduce the military weapons in cops’ hands.
These days, a lot of politicians say they’re against “forever wars” — and that’s a good thing. But the acid test for genuine opposition to the national security state is support for cutting the military budget.
American police departments are armed to the teeth with military-grade weaponry like Humvees and assault rifles. Nothing is stopping President Biden from shutting down this military-to-police pipeline right away.
Average Americans want to cut the military budget, but a constant stream of defense contractor cash to Congress makes such cuts unlikely. Perhaps the best way to argue against the continued expansion of the gargantuan budget for war: insist that we need that money for measures like $2,000 survival checks.
A look at the numbers reveals that congressional Democrats who voted for Trump’s defense budget last week accepted four times as much war industry cash in the House and six times as much in the Senate as those who voted against. To stop the war machine from sucking up resources that could be used on social programs, we need to confront those Democrats happy to rake in cash from war profiteers.