by Sarah Berentson
The Pentagon and Congress are pushing to commission the newest development in our weaponry: stealth bombers that cost $500 million a piece. Many question why we need these new bombers, when the others are undergoing multi-billion dollar upgrades. Though many are questioning why the newest updates to these massive machines are even necessary, I continue to wonder where our priorities lie. At $550 million apiece, you could pay for over 3,000 students to attend Whitworth for four years. You could feed even more people. You could build a super school, and with that kind of money even turn kids into super heroes.
According to The Economist, America spends as much on defense as the next 17 countries combined. I have huge concerns with that kind of spending. Why is it necessary to spend $550 million a piece on new and improved stealth bombers? I fear the idea of spending massive amounts of money when we can hardly dent our own national debt.
This issue also reflects a major issue in the United States; our adaptability. We will do whatever it takes to not have to change our ways. Oh, you say there is an oil shortage? I will carpool, I will walk, but I’ll still turn a blind eye to the war in Iraq. We stand by and destroy our earth to feed our dependence on oil. We destroy our earth by continuing to produce plastic, use Styrofoam, and refuse to be a bit more sustainable. Some go as far to claim that environmental concerns are a liberal conspiracy. We do not like to adjust. I don’t know much about building stealth bombers, but it seems that there should be a way to avoid paying $550 million per plane.
There have been recent budget cuts for the military, and I don’t believe that it is necessary to force the military to adapt to an unrealistic budget, but I do believe that we should take a closer look about where the money goes, and to what. This goes for every facet of American life. I feel that there is a legitimate concern regarding how money is spent in the United States. We have debates that revolve around the same argument from a generalized argument of taxes, to education funding, to welfare. The people deserve to know where their money is going, and to what degree. Though transparency isn’t the easiest of tasks, it surely exists, but not to the degree where the average American is informed. Partially that has to do with the will of each individual to be accurately informed, and part of it has to do with the availability and accessibility to the information. There are websites out there that keep up to date records of government spending such as USAspending.gov.
I have a real issue with the amount of money we spend on the military, but more so I have an issue with the ill-informed and lackadaisical nature of American citizens. I too fall in this category of floating through college, relatively unaware of how money is spent in the United States. We as citizens should be concerned about the country we live in, and exactly what is going on within it, because after all we hopefully have a couple more decades living in it.
Berentson is a senior majoring in English and Spanish. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.