As a member of a local advocacy team, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, I was recently part of a meeting with Sen. Tester’s office. Our aim was to discuss the military budget. Here are the facts we presented: We are spending $600 billion each year, more than during the cold war. President Trump and Congress are considering plans to raise Pentagon spending by $52 billion. This budget is more than all of these countries combined: Japan, France, United Kingdom, USSR/Russia, Saudi Arabia, and China.

This enormous drain on our economy has no oversight. The Pentagon is responsible to no one, and there is no audit of its transaction. We know that the Pentagon is wasteful and fraudulent. The Washington Post reported in December 2016 that the Pentagon suppressed a report that found $125 billion in waste. Several years ago, under the radar, our town received from the military an armored vehicle at no cost to our state. One of our city officials commented that “It was free.” Not so.

It was taxpayers’ money that bought it. Both Democrats and many Republicans agree that this spending is out of control. They have to answer to their constituencies when programs are cut to support it.

We have already witnessed how our president has decreed that the government will not support supplementary payments for health care. The repercussions from this will mean higher premiums for everyone. And that’s just the beginning. In the new budget are cuts to Medicaid, education, interest on student loans, and the EPA, just to name a few. The impact here in our town, mirrored across the country, will be defunding Meals on Wheels for the elderly, and the after school program for children of working parents.

How does this make America great? 

Jo Anne Troxel