Where Will Cuts Come From?
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – President Donald Trump's call to increase military spending by $54 billion likely means cuts will be made to some politically sensitive programs, including those dealing with education, the environment, science and poverty.
Trump first announced his plans Monday to the National Governors Association, and in a speech to Congress on Tuesday he called on lawmakers to roll back caps on defense spending.
Lindsay Koshgarian, research director for the National Priorities Project, says it's unclear where the money for a hike in defense funding would come from. She says this is the time for citizens to speak up, noting that cuts would have a trickle down effect on states, cities and counties.
"There are a lot of reasons for members of Congress to care about this,” she states. “The good news is that Congress actually has quite a large say in what the final budget looks like. So, the right thing to do is to contact your member of Congress and let them know what your concerns are."
Trump has said the money will come from, in his words, a "revved-up economy." He also has said it's time for America to "start winning wars again."
But the budget proposal has a long way to go, and some push back from Congress is almost certain.
The U.S. spends 21 times more on the military than it does on foreign aid programs, although in Koshgarian's view, foreign aid for causes such as fighting hunger and disease does more to increase stability around the world.
"We actually get a lot in return for that money, in the form of added security for our country,” she stresses. “And if we don't spend that money, we will need to spend more on the other side fighting wars – and I don't think that's a choice that anyone would want to make."
Koshgarian maintains any new military funding should come first from ending wasteful spending within the Pentagon itself. She says programs that make people's lives better shouldn't be raided when some believe the Pentagon isn't doing its fair share to combat waste.