And while Trump says increased military spending will reassert America’s strength, the United States already is the world’s 800-pound gorilla. In 2015, it was responsible for more than one third of all military spending on the planet. China and Russia, the United States’ main military competitors, don’t even come close.
Trump’s budget plans also feature drastic cuts to international and environmental spending. He’s reportedly pushing for a 24 percent cut to the EPA budget and a 37 percent cut to the State Department and USAID budget. While such reductions would have profound effects on these agencies, they are a drop in the bucket compared with the Pentagon budget. In 2016, the Department of State and USAID received an estimated $50.6 billion, or 1.3 percent of all federal spending. The EPA received $8.3 billion, or 0.2 percent of all federal spending. Meanwhile, the Pentagon got 15 percent.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s books are such a mess that it has never been audited, and the Government Accountability Office has repeatedly (though politely) criticized it for its “long-standing financial management deficiencies.” Even as Trump talks about shaking things up in Washington, DC, his budget plans reveal that he won’t challenge a costly budgetary tradition: giving the Pentagon a pass.
Why Trump’s Military Budget Boost Doesn’t Add Up