Why do we taxpayers continue to pay for something we don’t want? While analysts estimate current military spending to be 40% to 50% of the federal budget, the results of a recent public Penny Poll in downtown Lancaster, Pa., indicated that the 84 participants wanted just 10% of their federal tax dollars to support the U.S. military and homeland security.
Last year, the average U.S. taxpayer spent $2,375 on the military, of which $1,087 went to military contractors. At the same time, individual taxpayers spent only $1,691 on education, $469 on transportation and $88 on energy and the environment. Though the majority of Americans oppose further increases in military spending, President Biden has requested an even bigger military budget for next year — $886 billion in 2024, a $44 billion increase over 2023. The U.S. spends more on its military than the next nine countries combined — 39% of the world’s military spending.
Why does the Pentagon get more money every year when military might cannot take on the climate crisis or public health emergencies? In fact, military spending aggravates those challenges. Massive military budgets fund wars and covert operations that harm “enemies,” often civilians, while displacing funds needed for critical programs here at home. Let’s use our God-given consciences and pocketbooks to support life-affirming endeavors such as the Mennonite Church USA Peace Tax Fund.
Harold A. Penner, Akron, Pa.