26 Dec Should the government increase or decrease military spending?
May 23rd, 2017, 10.53am – 45th president of The United States, Donald Trump tweets – “Our budget makes national defense a top priority by increasing defense spending by $54 BILLION.”
December 3rd, 2018, 7 pm – Donald Trump tweets – “I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!”
This tweet came as a surprise to many. In the past, Trump has repeatedly claimed that he “rebuilt the military” after a couple years of increased budgets. Trump has been a hands-on supporter of increased military spending from the time he took the oath. A sudden change in policies has jolted those who demand extensive military funding.
Those in favor of increased military spending claim that reducing the bounty now can result in vast amounts of unfinished programs, half-developed weapons, and new weapons that will be suspended as soon or even before they formally enter service.
There has been an increased push for upgrading the nuclear arsenal and its delivery system by the current administration. Independent Space force was conceptualized in detail for the first time. The question which lies dangling in front of all of us is, how will so many conventional weapons programs and defense initiatives, survive plummeting budget levels?
A recent U.S. Treasury report stated that the budget deficit had grown 17 percent over just the last year to $779B and it will reach $1T per year by 2020. That is with a thriving economy, if it were to take a downturn, that number would likely inflate.
Following the report, Trump announced a five percent budget cut throughout, exempting some government organizations, like the DoD. But even if this move produces expected results, it would amount to $68B in savings, which is far smaller than the projected deficit increase.
Trump’s newly found ambition of trilateral arms reduction agreement is a welcome move, but in the past, he has openly invited arms races, making this statement a bit confusing. Hopefully, he follows through with doing everything possible to craft such accords, by all indications doing so won’t be easy. Russia is not abiding with the current restrictions, so the idea that they would adhere to new ones is dubious. China and U.S are already tangled in a trade war. It’s difficult to fathom that China will agree to any such proposal.
If we analyze where we stand carefully, we cannot survive a steep decline in military spending. Our military needs to be at par with the technological advancements and weaponry to be readily prepared for times of adversity. The superpower dynamics of this world is shifting rapidly and to ensure an upper edge, a robust military is essential like never.
At the same time, if the current economic deficit piles up, we would be heading towards a limbo state of unemployment and bankruptcy. We are still struggling with the after-effects of the last financial meltdown. We need to ensure that we do not purposely invite or create another economic disaster.
You have served the country in adverse times using your nerves of steel.