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Why is America obsessing about how much “Build Back Better” will cost, and not howling about the humongous military budget?

And why isn't the mainstream media covering this?

The following article was originally published at robertreich.substack.com on Dec 1, 2021.

All I seem to hear these days is how much Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill will cost, along with concerns that it will spur inflation and enlarge the national debt.

Yet within days the Senate will approve giving $778 billion to the military for this fiscal year (although Mitch McConnell is dragging his feet, in order to run the clock on “Build Back Better” before the Christmas recess.)

So here’s today’s question: Where’s the outcry about this defense bill? Why aren’t lawmakers and economists hollering about its effects on inflation and the national debt?

The $778 billion defense bill is $25 billion more than Biden and the Pentagon requested for the military this year. It’s $13 billion more than even Trump requested for the military in his last budget.

And it’s 4 times the size of the Build Back Better bill, which comes to around $175 billion a year.

Besides, Build Back Better is paid for with new taxes. The giant military budget isn’t.

Build Back Better contains all sorts of things Americans need, such as childcare, universal pre-K, paid leave, college and housing assistance, and measures to battle climate change.

It’s hard to make the case that Americans really need to spend $778 billion on defense. We continue to spend more on the military than the next 12 militarized nations combined.

Much of the new defense bill is pure waste. It preserves the Trump administration’s nuclear weapons programs that the Democrats ran on cancelling last year.

If we just canceled the sea-launched nuclear missile that the Navy says it has no use for, and the additional F-35 fighter that no one asked for, there’d be enough money to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing. The $25 billion in the military bill that the Pentagon didn’t even ask for is roughly equivalent to the entire annual budget of the Center for Disease Control.

Yet there’s almost no coverage of this in the news, and little or no national debate. Just silence. Why?

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