It’s Time to Put People Over the Pentagon

 In Pentagon Budget, Pentagon Spending

The Pentagon Budget

The U.S. spends more on its military than the next ten countries combined. It is often said budgets are moral documents. What we fund and do not fund demonstrates our country’s priorities and thus its values. Such consistently massive military budgets have for years been eating up funding for critical programs here at home. This takes the greatest toll on communities of color and other marginalized groups. Now more than ever, we need spending to prioritize the needs of people, not the endless appetite of the defense industry.

Skewed Spending Priorities

The discretionary budget, a portion of the total budget that the President asks Congress to allocate every year, demonstrates how skewed our government’s priorities are.

Even as we face an economic crisis, ongoing pandemic, and worsening severe weather events, President Biden’s budget request once again allocates over half of the budget to the military industrial complex. This leaves other departments with a fraction of the resources.

  • State and Other International Programs: $64.4 billion for diplomacy and humanitarian aid
  • Health and Human Services: $130.7 billion to protect the health and well-being of Americans
  • Education: $82 billion to teach future generations
  • Environmental Protection Agency: $11 billion to protect human health and the environment
  • Interior: $17.8 billion to manage and conserve natural resources and cultural heritage
  • Housing and Urban Development: $72.6 billion to create healthy, safe, sustainable, and inclusive communities and affordable homes

The Pentagon Has Been Misusing and Wasting Funds for Years

The Defense Department has a long, well-known history of wasteful spending — including the 2016 revelation that the Pentagon buried evidence of $125 billion of administrative waste — and has failed six consecutive audits since they became required in 2018. 

In its failed 2023 audit, the Pentagon was unable to account for a full half of its $3.8 trillion in assets (including equipment, facilities, etc). That means $1.9 trillion of taxpayer money is unaccounted for — which is more than the entire discretionary budget request this year. No other federal agency could get away with this, yet we continue to throw billions more at the Pentagon each year.

Our Taxpayer Dollar In Action: A Glance at 2024

  • $14.3 billion: Additional request for military “aid” to Israel
    • The Biden administration requested $14.3 billion to send to the Israeli government in the form of US military equipment and services. This would be separate from the Pentagon budget. However, nearly $4 billion in taxpayer dollars goes to Israel every year, already, funding such activities as detention of children and Palestinian demolition of Palestinian homes. The supplemental spending, meanwhile, would allow Israel to prolong its brutal war on Gaza and exacerbate the worsening humanitarian crisis and human rights abuses in the area.
  • $8.4 billion: One “scaled back” year of F-35 fighter jets
    • Lockheed Martin’s notoriously problematic jet carries a price tag of $80 to $120 million per plane. Multiple malfunctions over the years have ballooned the lifetime cost to an estimated $1.7 trillion. This plane has received a bad reputation due to the numerous dangers it carries for those flying it — including the potential for fatal whiplash, occasional oxygen deprivation, and a “serious” risk of death during ejections. The administration slashed the order by 18%, but still requested 17 jets worth a whopping $8.4 billion.
  • $49.2 billion: A revamp of our nuclear weapons arsenal
    • Despite its potential to kick off a new nuclear arms race, the US continues to spend money on new nuclear weapons including “low yield,” more-usable weapons, upgraded intercontinental ballistic missiles, and a nuclear sea-launched cruise missile. These plans to upgrade every portion of the nuclear triad are projected to have a $1.5 trillion lifetime cost, though this estimate continues to grow each year.

Take Action

  • Contact your Senators and your Representative and let them know your thoughts.
    • Ask Congress to cut the Pentagon budget and redirect those funds to human needs.
    • To find your member of Congress, go to
    • Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 to get connected with their offices.
  • Contact the Biden administration and let them know your thoughts.
  • Write and submit letters to the editor in response to articles on Pentagon spending.
Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search