Senate’s Military Spending Increase Alone Is Enough
to Make Public College Free
By Alex Emmons
19, 2017 "Information
- One of the most controversial proposals put
forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016
presidential campaign was a pledge to make tuition
free at public colleges and universities. Critics
from both parties howled that the pie-in-the-sky
idea would bankrupt the country. Where, after all,
would the money come from?
concerns were brushed aside Monday night, as the
Senate overwhelmingly approved an $80 billion annual
increase in military spending, enough to have fully
satisfied Sanders’s campaign promise. Instead, the
Senate handed President Donald Trump far more than
the $54 billion he asked for. The lavish spending
package gives Trump a major legislative victory,
allowing him to boast about fulfilling his
promise of a “great
rebuilding of the armed services.”
bill would set the U.S.’s annual military budget at
around $700 billion, putting it
within range of
matching the spending level at the height of the
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
put that in further perspective: If the package
becomes law, U.S. military spending would exceed the
total spending of its next 10 rivals put together,
going off of 2016 military spending
estimates from the
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
way, with a $700 billion military budget, the U.S.
would be spending more than three times as much as
China on its military, and 10 times as much as
Russia. According to SIPRI, the U.S. already
accounts for more than a third of all military
with $80 billion a year, you could make
public colleges and universities in the
In fact, Sanders’s proposal was only estimated to
cost the federal government $47 billion per year.
additional military spending over the next 10 years
instead went to pay off student debt, it could come
close to wiping it out entirely.
But proposals like that are written off as
nonstarters, even by Democrats. In her new book,
Sanders’s idea to him nonsensically saying
“America should get a pony.” And while concerns
about the cost of ponies abound, few Democrats
are raising similar concerns about military
spending, even when it is meant for a
commander-in-chief they consider reckless and
89-8, with three
senators not voting, to approve the military money.
Spendthrift Sanders joined only four other
Democratic senators to vote against the bill:
Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Patrick Leahy of
Vermont, and Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden from Oregon.
Republicans Bob Corker of Tennessee, Rand Paul of
Kentucky, and Mike Lee of Utah also voted against
Trump submitted a budget proposal in March, which
cut social spending dramatically to fund a $54
billion increase in defense spending, Democrats
criticized it as a nonstarter. Senate Minority
Leader Chuck Schumer
“emphatically opposed” the blueprint, and House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the budget “throws
billions of dollars at defense while ransacking”
health and education funding.
Before the bill becomes law, it is has to be
reconciled with the version the House
which contains a similar $77 billion spending
increase. It is likely to become law by the end of
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