If there is one thing that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are in complete agreement on it is the need for a huge military. It is the one issue that transcends partisan politics with the only disagreement being on how large that the defense budget should be. However, debates over the size of the military often leave out one very important and relevant fact: that the U.S. already vastly outspends every other country on the planet. While the eyes of many folks glaze over at stories on the actual numbers there is a wonderful new animation tool that visually demonstrates the disparity in a way that can be understood by anyone.
That American taxpayers should continue to sacrifice in order to feed the bloated defense beast has long been the equivalent of a national religion and heresy is often punished with shunning and accusations of not being sufficiently patriotic. But what the media and the politicians never bother mentioning is that the United States has been outspending the rest of the world on the military and continues to do so while whittling other services and functions that would be beneficial to the American people down to virtually nothing. A good deal of the money that is spent on defense could be better put to use right here in the U.S.A. where our infrastructure is crumbling and is badly in need of modernization to keep up with global economic competitors.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address is often cited as a warning of the dangers of an unchecked Military Industrial Complex but a lesser known speech from 1953 is also important. In remarks to the American Society of Newspaper Editors Ike explained:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
Weaponry was a heck of a lot cheaper back in 1953 than it is today and the invading armies of lobbyists had not yet successfully occupied Washington and planted their flag.
Don’t look for the trend to reverse anytime soon. With the Middle East still ablaze, escalating hostilities towards China and a near suicidal mania to mix it up with nuclear powerhouse Russia there are far more guns than butter in the future for Americans.
Originally Published at The Federalist Papers Project.
Image and animation: From Cold War to War on Terror, Watch How America Outspends Everyone on the Military via Howmuch.net