A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
A sentiment attributed to Vice President Joe Biden is, Show me what’s in your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value. These words resonate with me whenever I consider the yearly budget for the Department of Defense (DoD), Homeland Security, the Department of Energy (which handles nuclear weapons), and the various intelligence agencies (roughly 17; that’s why they form a community).
When you add up what we spend on defense, homeland security, “overseas contingency operations” (wars), nuclear weapons, and intelligence and surveillance operations, the sum approaches $750 billion dollars each and every year, consuming more than two-thirds of the federal government’s discretionary spending.
Here are some figures for Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15):
Defense: “Base” budget of $496 billion
Afghan War (not part of “defense”): $85 billion
VA: $65 billion
Homeland Security: $38 billion
Nuclear Weapons: $12…
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