November 9, 2017 - mh9868a

An Increase in Defense Spending Will Hurt, Not Help, the United States

With the rising power of China and the threat of ISIS, President Donald Trump has created a plan to increase the United States’ defense spending to about $700 billion in 2018. When explaining President Trump’s reasoning for this significant increase in defense spending, in his Fortune Magazine article called, “Trump’s Defense Spending Increase Could Actually Make the U.S. Less Safe,” Lawrence J. Korb writes that President Trump justifies his increase in defense spending by arguing that the United States is currently not financially equipped to deal with new technological advancements for modern day military action. Therefore, according to the President, an increase in defense spending is necessary for the sake of technological advancement. However, Korb explains that the increase in the defense budget causes other government area budgets to be slashed. Therefore, President Trump’s increase in defense spending is unwise because it will actually hurt the United States rather than help it because of the negative ripple effect the increase in defense spending has on other governmental areas.

This photo offers a visual of Trump’s budget cuts.

One area of government that will get a significant budget cut because of the defense budget is the intelligence community. More specifically, the State Department will see a 33% cut to their funding, which will ultimately negatively affect their ability to carry out their operations. In his article for the Hill called, “House Bill Would Cut State Department Funding by 14%,” Niv Elis explains the implications the defense budget increase would have on the State Department. For example, Elis writes that a cut in funding for an intelligence department could actually put the United States at risk because intelligence communities like the State Department need funding to actually carry out their operations. In fact, in his article for the Chicago Tribune, called, “Tillerson to Cut More Than Half of State Department’s Special Envoys,” Josh Lederman writes that the State Department may have to shut down some offices within the department to cut costs. Lederman writes that this is because, “[Secretary of State] Tillerson has been scouring the agency and soliciting input from diplomats about how to trim the agency down.” Thus, up to a third of State Department officials could lose their jobs. Also, if the State Department cuts certain offices altogether, then the department will not be able to operate like it did before the budget cut. Overall, President Trump’s increase in the defense budget will have a negative impact on the State Department.

Other government organizations that will be greatly negatively impacted by the President’s increased defense budget are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Health and Human Services, and the Agricultural Department. In their Washington Post article, “What Trump Cut in his Agency Budgets,” Kim Soffen and Denise Lu explain which government agencies would get budget cuts and how severe those cuts will be. For example, with President Trump’s 2018 budget cuts the EPA will see a decrease of 31% of its funding. That is, according to Soffen and Lu, in 2017 the EPA had a budget of about $8.2 billion but in 2018 will only have a budget of about $5.7 billion. As a result, the budget cut, “eliminates more than 50 programs and 3,200 jobs.” Some of the programs that the EPA will have to cut include Energy Star, infrastructure programs in Alaska, and lake cleanup projects across the country. Furthermore, Soffen and Lu explain that the 18% cut to the Department of Human Health and Services could have serious impacts to the health field. For example, Medicare and Medicaid are under the umbrella of the Department of Human Health and Services, and if those were to be cut it would spur outrage among their recipients. Lastly, the third largest budget cut went to the Agricultural Department which will lose 21% of its funding in 2018. The agricultural research and development and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs could be cut which could negative effects on access to healthy food and produce for low income families. Also, Soffen and Lu explain that, “the USDA will also reduce staff by an unspecified amount.” Basically, President Trump’s plan to increase defense spending will negatively impact other government organizations that Americans depend on.

Lastly, President Trump’s increase in defense spending will cause a major cut to funds for arts and humanities organizations in the United States. In his NPR article called, “Trump’s Budget Plan Cuts Funding For Arts, Humanities And Public Media,” Brian Naylor argues that the President’s budget plan will almost totally eliminate public broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities. White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says that it is not necessary for citizens to pay for these programs anymore because they are not among the nation’s priorities anymore. Instead, Mulvaney claims the United States should focus citizen’s hard earned tax dollars on the defense budget because the defense of the United States is more pertinent. However, public programs such as National Public Radio (NPR), the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS), or Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) help children prepare for school and help adults learn about the state of current affairs in the world. In his article for Variety Magazine called, “Trump Budget Cuts Would ‘Devastate’ Public Broadcasting, CPB President Says,” Ted Johnson quotes chairwoman of the NEA Jane Chu saying that funding for these public programs is, “ actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every Congressional District in the nation.” That is, public broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities positively affect the nation, yet they may be cut completely because of President Trump’s new defense budget.

It is unwise for President Trump to increase the defense spending budget because it will actually hurt the United States rather than help it because of the negative ripple effect the increase in defense spending could have on other governmental areas. Perhaps the biggest effect the defense budget will have is on the State Department, which could lose about 33% of its funding in 2018. This cut could have serious implications for the intelligence community. Also, the EPA, the Agricultural Department, and the Department of Human Health and Services could face large budget cuts that would put their programs in danger. Lastly, the National Broadcasting and Public Radio program funds could be eliminated altogether, which could harm the education of the general population. Overall, because the increase in defense spending could cause significant cuts to important government programs, it is unwise for President Trump to increase the United States’ defense spending budget.

Bibliography

Elis, Niv. “House Bill Would Cut State Department Funding by 14 Percent | The Hill.” The Hill, July 12, 2017. http://thehill.com/policy/finance/budget/341715-house-bill-would-cut-state-department-funding-by-14-percent.

Johnson, Ted. “Trump Budget Cuts Would ‘Devastate’ Public Broadcasting, CPB President Says.” Variety (blog), March 16, 2017. http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/nea-cpb-pbs-trump-budget-2-1202010138/.

Korb, Lawrence J. “Trump’s Defense Spending Increase Could Actually Make the U.S. Less Safe.” Fortune. Accessed November 5, 2017. http://fortune.com/2017/03/05/donald-trump-defense-spending-military-increase-national-security/.

Lederman, Josh. “Tillerson to Cut More than Half of State Department’s Special Envoys.” chicagotribune.com. Accessed November 6, 2017. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-tillerson-state-department-special-envoys-cuts-20170828-story.html.

Naylor, Brian. “Trump Budget Cuts Funding For Arts, Humanities Endowments And Corporation For Public Broadcasting : NPR.” National Public Radio, May 16, 2017. http://www.npr.org/2017/03/16/520401246/trumps-budget-plan-cuts-funding-for-arts-humanities-and-public-media.

Soffen, Kim, and Denise Lu. “What Trump Cut in His Agency Budgets.” Washington Post, May 23, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-presidential-budget-2018-proposal/.

 

Essays economics / foreignpolicy / taxes / Trump /

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