President Biden released an outline of his 2022 budget plan late last week. This initial proposal includes a request for $715 billion from Congress to bolster the Pentagon war budget. The eye-popping figure is an increase over the Trump administration’s final record-setting “defense” budget of $704 billion.
The true total spending on militarism by the U.S. government is estimated to be closer to $1 trillion annually when costs hidden elsewhere in the budget are added together.
The boost to war spending has been requested despite a letter signed in March by 50 Democratic members of the House of Representatives pushing for cuts as deep as 10%. Even a reduction of that size would still leave the United States with the largest military budget in the world, and the runners-up would not even be close. But instead of cutting or even simply freezing spending, Biden is asking for an $11 billion increase — clearly an intentional display of loyalty to the military-industrial complex.
The outline gives a window into how his administration’s priorities are shaping up for the coming year. This is Biden’s first budget proposal as president and it is being delivered during a devastating pandemic where, despite the availability of vaccines, the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in the United States. With over 562,000 dead and economic chaos deepening hunger, homelessness and poverty, it is outrageous that Joe Biden has chosen to prioritize military spending.
COVID-19 has laid bare the ravages of capitalism and the deeply precarious situation for workers in the United States. Biden clearly demonstrates his intention to misdirect the public’s money to perpetuate an irresponsible and dangerous new cold war against China while maintaining all the bombing campaigns, occupations and international military bases that make up the core of the U.S. war machine. Biden is continuing a long tradition in ruling class politics — unlimited money for death and misery when the people need jobs, income, health care, education and the real security that comes with all of these.
Biden has shown, just like his predecessors, that his actual constituency is Wall Street, the banks and the military-industrial complex aiming to conquer and pillage the rest of the world to enrich a tiny few. Working people in the United States have a key role to play as we join the people of the world in their fight to claw back sovereignty and life-saving resources from the jaws of U.S. imperialism.