(CBS Charlotte) — In 2012, the United States of America spent $737 billion on military defense — at a time where we have the fewest enemies than ever before. To put that number into perspective, our country outspends China nearly 7-to-1 on military funding. While it’s no secret that we are known as the ‘World’s Police,’ at what cost does this come to our country and the citizens who reside in America?
In order to maintain our world police status, the leaders of our country have continued to make cuts across the board — America has put its own infrastructure at risk, and ultimately, Americans pay the price.
Our bridges, roadways, schools, health care system, social services, emergency services and environment are all in dire need of additional funding, however, all of these areas have suffered drastic cuts in funding throughout the last several years. Furthermore, the American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that in order to make our infrastructure safe, the U.S. needs to allocate $3.6 trillion to our nation’s infrastructure by 2020. Currently, the safety rating of our infrastructure is a shameful D+.
Apart from the overwhelming cost of policing the world, there are other long-term costs that hinder our country’s ability to invest in our own affairs and in our own citizens, such as injured veterans. It is estimated that by 2033, the U.S. will be allocating $59 billion a year to injured veterans. Undoubtedly, the U.S. military budget is a drain on our economy, not to mention that our military spending is unsustainable.
The U.S. spends far too much of our budget on military expenses and world issues — wars and weapons that generally do not contribute to the overall safety of Americans. Have you ever wondered what could be done domestically if the U.S. didn’t police the world? Here’s a glimpse:
- $11 billion, which was the amount of money reported “wasted” on the war in Iraq in 2007, could pay over 200,000 teachers salaries annually.
- The average yearly cost of stationing one American soldier in a war zone could easily feed 60 families.
- The U.S. government has spent over $1.5 billion on radiation victims of nuclear testing. This money could easily educate 13,000 children in American schools.
- The U.S. government could adequately provide ample healthcare, education, food and security to all Americans, however, our country spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on healthcare, education, food and security.
While the U.S. currently dominants the world, and our military power remains strong and feared, our country will continue to die from within until the United States government has no other choice but to reduce its military expenditures drastically. The only question now is how much longer will our government allow our citizens to suffer and our infrastructure to crumble, before changes are made?
With a war in Syria looming, the United States feels the need to save “Syrian children from being gassed,” and all the while, many poor children in our country do not have access to adequate education, food, or healthcare. At what point do we draw the line?
-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte