Military spending must be reprioritized to save money, Kalamazoo County commissioner says (Letter) |


I’m writing to talk about our national deficit, the fiscal cliff, and what I see as perhaps one of the most important elements of any plan that will lead to a solution: reducing certain Pentagon spending and reshaping our national defense system. Here are the facts: nearly one in five of our federal budget dollars are going to the Pentagon — that’s roughly $660 billion a year and more than the next 16 largest militaries combined. I understand there are threats out there, but that figure alone should make everyone pause. While our schools continue to be shut down, crumble, and fail, we’re spending literally hundreds of billions of dollars a year on the Pentagon while still putting the cost of a war on the credit card.

I believe the time is now to re-prioritize because the Pentagon clearly has room to tighten its belt — imagine what that money could be used for here at home, or for our troops and their families. Every part of our government needs to pay its fair share, and the Pentagon should not be exempt. Now is the time for the defense industry to step-up and make it clear to Washington that America’s long-term security depends on putting the future of middle-class and military families ahead of record profits and exorbitant CEO salaries.

Defense contractor executive salaries are on par with those of the richest Wall St. CEOs. I read one study for the Project on Government Oversight that said between 2006 and 2011, the top five contractors enjoyed a 10 percent increase in government rewards.

The truth is that there are many ways for us to re-prioritize our military spending to save money and still keep our troops and country safe. In Michigan, we are lucky to have Sens. Stabenow and Levin, who are in a position to truly be leaders on this issue. I encourage all of Congress to take a hard look at the Pentagon budget as negotiations continue in Washington D.C.

David Buskirk represents Commission District 7 on the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners. He has served on the Commission since 1995 and currently serves as the board’s Vice Chair.

via Military spending must be reprioritized to save money, Kalamazoo County commissioner says (Letter) |