The United States discretionary budget is the portion of the yearly government budget that is overseen directly by Congress, specifically the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee. In 2019 alone the U.S. discretionary budget was approximately 1.3 trillion dollars (~$1,300,000,000,000), that is a lot of zeroes. With such a massive amount of discretionary funds, one might wonder why the education system always has a tight budget or why NASA has to stop funding the International Space Station. The answer is simple: United States Military spending is to blame.
In 2019 expenditure for Defense/Military in the U.S. was approximately 680 billion dollars, around 52% of the discretionary budget! The United States spends more on its military than the next seven highest spending countries combined and almost 4 times as much than the next highest spender, China. Put simply, the portion of the U.S. budget spent on military is ridiculous and takes away valuable funding from other 15+ departments that actually need it. While the U.S. has been wasting billions on unneeded and outdated military equipment, other countries have altered their stance on funding. The United States may be leading with military but it is quickly falling behind other countries in science, education, transportation, health care, and energy. These extremely valuable and important departments have been neglected for far too long.
Action needs to be taken, not only is this a wasteful and unnecessary use of funds, but by redistributing government funding between various departments it could have a massive positive impact on the United States as a whole. There are a multitude of outcomes and budgets that could be viable and help to rectify this issue. For example, if 25% of the military budget was redirected towards other departments, the U.S. Military would still spend almost three times as much as China and the remaining 170 billion dollars could be put to good use. This 170 billion dollars could nearly double the education, science, and health system budgets or it could be evenly distributed throughout the remaining departments to provide a much needed boost in funds. There are so many paths that can be taken to help this situation and stop the terrible budgetary management of the United States and create a more prepared and balanced country.