In 2007 a Gallup Pole showed that 47% of Americans think we are spending “too much” while 20% said “too little”. The same poll revealed that 46 % believe our country is “not strong enough”, while 8% think the country is stronger then it needs to be.
As you can see, it is really a matter of opinion in terms of how “safe” you as an individual feel, and if if the high military budget is justified.
I would argue yes. Most analysts would say no.
In realist thought, a bigger military does nothing but guarantee greater safety internationally (though it ignores terrorism and the effects of other non-state actors entirely, which I find somewhat ironic), but I think that after a certain point it’s more than sufficient, and tax money could much more efficiently go somewhere else.
The general opinion probably dates back to Adam Smith’s capitalist theory, truthfully, which posited that military spending was one of the three functions a government should spend on.
When forming an opinion on the matter, note that the United States spends roughly the same amount as the rest of the world combined ($600-700 billion). It also maintains 737 bases on foreign soil. And a growing number of people around the world consider the growing power of the United States “the single greatest external threat to their societies” (according to political analyst Samuel Huntington, from Foreign Affairs, March-April 1999). Consider also the other things on which that money could be spent – education, renewable energy, healthcare, and ending world hunger to name a few.
But I suppose you have to think about why we spend so much on the military, and whether you agree with that cause.
This is very much a matter of opinion, but I believe that we do spend far to much money on defense. This does not mean that I think we should stop funding the troops while they are in harms way. I just think that the money could be spent a lot more efficiently, and be distributed in different ways. We should way more funds into education and energy than we do currently. I think it is possible to achieve a balance where we can have a functional military and also not neglect other vital aspects of our society.
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