Trump Seeks Massive 9% Military Spending Hike: GOP Hawks Slam Plan as Insufficient
February 28, 2017
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Alex Emmons / The Intercept
President Trump today unveiled some new details on his budget priorities, seeking a 9% increase, or about $54 billion, in increased military spending for next year, with a series of plans to reduce domestic spending to try to cover the different. The State Department and the EPA are both said to also be marked for substantial cuts in the range of tens of billions of dollars.
Trump Seeks Massive 9% Military Spending Hike
Republican Hawks Slam Trump Plan as Insufficient
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(February 27, 2017) -- As was expected from reports yesterday, President Trump today unveiled some new details on his budget priorities, seeking a 9% increase, or about $54 billion, in increased military spending for next year, with a series of plans to reduce domestic spending to try to cover the different.
Exactly where all the cuts are coming from is unclear, but the State Department and the EPA are both said to also be marked for substantial cuts in the range of tens of billions of dollars, and President Trump is determined to keep his campaign promise not to touch Social Security, other domestic programs are all facing potential cuts.
Since the election, President Trump has been talking up some very expensive military plans, including increases in the number of troops, ships, and warplanes the US has available, and has talked up more nuclear weapons recently, arguing the US needs to be unrivaled.
Trump is further arguing that the US needs an increased budget in general to "win wars again," lamenting that when he was younger people used to say the US "never lost a war." A 9% increase is a big one, given how big the US military's budget already is, and that the growth is in the range of the whole annual military budget of a country like France or Britain.
But the one certainty in any budget proposed by any president with any level of military spending increase is that the hawks in Congress won't think it's enough, and that's true today as well, with Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) and others attacking the plan as nowhere near enough of an increase to military spending.
McCain went so far as to predict that a budget with "only" a 9 percent increase might not have enough support to get through the Senate at all. This may be a huge concern, with a number of top Democrats already voicing concerns about the cuts elsewhere expected to pay for the increase.
Trump's Proposed Increase in US Defense Spending
Would Be 80 Percent of Russia's Entire Military Budget
Alex Emmons / The Intercept
(February 27 2017) -- The US government already spends $600 billion dollars a year on its military — more money than the next seven biggest spenders combined, including China and Russia.
On Monday, the White House said it would request $54 billion more in military spending for next year. That increase alone is roughly the size of the entire annual military budget of the United Kingdom, the fifth-largest spending country, and it's more than 80 percent of Russia's entire military budget in 2015.
If Congress were to follow Trump's blueprint, the US military budget could account for nearly 40 percent of global military spending next year. The US would be outspending Russia by a margin of greater than 9 to 1.
At a meeting of US governors on Monday, Trump described his forthcoming budget proposal as "a public safety and national security budget."
The share of world military expenditure of the 15 states with the highest expenditure in 2015. Graphic: SIRPI
US military spending has been at permanent wartime levels since the 2001 terror attacks, despite the significant drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq under President Obama.
Spending has declined since the wars were at their peak in 2010, but US military spending in 2015 remains at 190 percent of what it was before 9/11, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, a leading tracker of weapons and defense spending.
Throughout his campaign, Trump criticized bloated weapons contracts and the overall cost of wars in the Middle East. But he also promised to make the military "strong again," pledging to build 70 new warships and increase the number of troops in the Army to the same high levels as during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Trump has also called for the US to "greatly expand" its nuclear weapons capabilities, signaling a potential willingness to expand a $1 trillion modernization effort Obama started that was already widely criticized by budget critics as unaffordable.
The White House did not elaborate on how the Pentagon would spend the extra money. CNN reported that the White House was planning dramatic cuts to the EPA and foreign aid budgets. Both are tiny components of the federal budget and are unlikely to add up to anywhere near $54 billion.
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