On Sunday, The New York Times reported that as the economy worsens, enlistment in the military is on the rise. The Army surpassed its recruitment targets for the months of October, November and December, which coincides with the first quarter of the fiscal year. The article also cited that there are expanded education benefits included in the new G.I. Bill, which is an attraction for many, especially new high school graduates. However, the Times failed to mention that the proposed discretionary budget for the 2009 fiscal year includes 58% for national defense (down 1% from the 59% of 2008), with a pathetic 7% for education, training, employment and social services.
The National Priorities Project breaks down exactly where spending on national defense goes: 89% to the military, 7% to homeland security, and 4% to preventative measures. Military spending has nearly doubled since 2001 – from about $350 billion to nearly $600 billion. Of total world military spending, the U.S. makes up 48%. Israel is the third largest arms importer (topped only by China and India, the two countries with the largest populations).
The amounts of money spent on war and military would be ludicrous at any time, but the fact that the nation is in a recession with alarmingly high unemployment rates, speaks volumes. The U.S. government continues to clearly prioritize war and oppression over education and social services.