Should military spending in the US be increased

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Ismael Hossein Zadeh is an Economics Professor at Drake University. He has written widely on the subject of American military expenditures and their economic effects. In this paper released by the Review of Social Economy, he investigates whether an increased military investment is stifling progress in other areas of government spending. He contends that growth in defense spending comes at the expense of non-defense public spending on public capital development. In other words, increased US military spending is hampering spending on other areas of the economy such as infrastructure, education, health and social welfare which contribute directly to economic growth unlike defense spending. He further contends that if this pattern of spending is not stopped, it will result in dire consequences such as hampering economic growth, reducing long term economic productivity, and eroding social and physical infrastructure. To back his claims, he gives several examples of how disproportional spending on the military is already leading to state of disrepair of public infrastructure or foregone investments in other areas of the economy. He cites the heavy destruction of the city of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina blaming it on neglected investments in the necessary public infrastructure that could have prevented or at least mitigated the damage effects.

Khalid, Masoud, and Munadhil Razaq. "The Impact Of Military Spending On Economic Growth: Evidence From The US Economy". Research Journal Of Finance And Accounting, vol 6, no. 7, 2015,.

Masoud Khalid and Munadhil Razaq are accounting lecturers at Cihan University in Sulaimani, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. In this paper, published by the Research Journal of Finance and Accounting, they examine the effect of the increasing U.S. defense budget on the country’s economy. They first start by exposing the gaps in literature and empirical evidence on the relationship between defense budgets and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth. They then start their investigation on whether spending excessively on the military has the effect of hampering infrastructure, technological advancement and human capital formation. They factor in both arguments for and arguments against. To get empirical evidence they apply ARDL (Autoregressive Distributed Lag) Model to check whether the biggest military defense budget in the world – that of the United States – has any effect on the country’s economy. The fact that the US has the biggest defense budget in the world is supported by many researchers and no one even at Pentagon refutes this conclusion (O'Hanlon, Michael). They, Masoud and Razaq, utilize this model to analyze data for 1970 to 2011. Their results show that there is a negative correlation between increased military spending and economic growth. In other words, the United States ought not to increase its military spending if it really wants to stimulate economic growth. The two argue that the money should instead be used on other areas of the economy that are known to have a direct effect on economic growth and prosperity. They then justify their findings by citing recent empirical studies such as those conducted by Pavel Yakolev (2007) and David Davis (1995), both of whom concluded that cutting military spending would directly stimulate economic growth. The conclusions made by Khalid and Razaq are very clear in the end, if the U.S. would like to stimulate growth then it should not increase military spending, at least not now.

"The US Spends More On Defence Than All Of These Countries Combined". World Economic Forum, 2017,

This article reveals exactly how much the United States military spending is higher compared to other nations such as China, the UK, Russia, France, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and even India. In fact President Trump made known his plans to actually increase the United State’s defense military spending by 54 billion dollars in 2018. He claimed that this will be a move to reconstruct the drained U.S military at a time when the country needs it most. Others have argued that this value ($54 billion) is a false one and that the actual increment will ‘only’ be by 18 billion dollars. Regardless of what the actual final figure will be, this increase spending will take the nation even more ahead of the rest of the universe with regards to military spending.

In accordance with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the military spending of the United States in 2015 was a lot more than that of seven countries combined; China, the UK, Russia, France, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and India. The country’s defense power majorly rests in its airpower having 13,400 aircrafts, which are three times that of Russia and four times that of China. In as much as Russia ranks first in terms of tanks at 15, 000 compared to U.S. having a fleet of 400, the U.S fleet is the most advanced in the world. The fleet boasts ten aircraft carriers, able to launch aircrafts with the very first electromagnetic launch systems, and the latest USS Gerald R. Ford that costs an entire 13 billion dollars.

This article is proof that with regards to military spending comparison, the U.S military certainly dwarfs other countries.

Erwin, Sandra. "As Pressure Grows To Cut Spending, The True Cost Of Weapons Is Anyone's Guess". National Defense, vol 96, no. 694, 2011, p. 6.

This article majorly focuses on the Pentagon’s history of spending. Back in the early years, the Pentagon purchased weapons as a result of their easy access to funds. This eventually resulted to the habit of purchasing funds without necessarily worrying about the incurred costs. Now, the consequence is that the Pentagon is in a great amount of debt and paying back seems to posing some challenges. This issue is most probably going to result to budget cuts. There is great pressure to have the budget cut to put a stop to bleeding as a result of purchasing weapons, but pressure also exists to cut the budget in order to have the funds for other things.

One of the most significant cuts that would have to be made would be at the Environmental Protection Agency. About 2.6 billion dollars will have to be cut from the agency. If these cuts actually go through, this would translate to doing away with any financing for research in climate change, which is very important. The budget would minimize funding intended for the United Nations particularly for its efforts in climate change. Additionally, contributions directed to the World Bank would also be reduced by 650 million dollars, and development and economic help will be ‘redirected’ to nations of great strategic interest to the U.S. These are just a few of the cuts that would have to be made as a results of the Pentagon’s dealings, which would adversely affect the people.

Works Cited

O'Hanlon, Michael. The Future Of Land Warfare. 1st ed., Washington, Brookings Institution Press, 2015,.

August 18, 2021
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