There is no way around it. We are currently in a huge recession with an unprecedented deficit. So you might ask yourself, where is all the money going? Well, as of September second, 2010, Congress approved a grand total of 1.21 trillion  dollars for military operations in the Middle East since 9/11. Including the affects of the war on the US economy, some estimates are as high as 3 trillion  dollars, but for the sake of the article let’s go with what has been officially approved by congress. Each taxpayer has paid a whopping 7,699  dollars for this war. But how much money does the US spend towards domestic programs like education? — We spend around 500 billion dollars  on education every year. The Federal Government only funds about 8% of this $500 billion, which is 40 billion dollars annually. This means that in the last 9 years, the Federal Government has spent $1.21 trillion on a war in the Middle East but only $360 billion on education. The unfortunate thing is that the US only ranks 37th in the world for education spending (by GDP) . Even countries that are dwarfed by America dedicate a higher percentage of their money to education. Some of these countries include: Belarus, Cyprus, Bolivia, Malawi, Kenya, Namibia, Morocco, and Lesotho .
Now let’s compare the War vs. Education. What seems more beneficial to the American society? We have a war in which any benefits to the domestic front are highly questionable and we have education that is the key to future generations. The next generation’s treatment of the environment, technological advancements, and the employment rate all are highly affected by the educational system that we have today. Why must the students, and America’s future suffer? Schools everywhere are cutting programs that are perceived as “extras” such as marching bands, concert bands, art programs, dance programs, as well as many foreign language opportunities due to an overwhelming lack of funding. Even core subjects like English, history, and science are suffering due to a shortage of teachers and supplies, and overfilled classrooms. Costs everywhere are also rising. For example, the University of California (UC) system raised their tuition by 32% last year and another 8% in November due to budget cuts in the state . Even the California State University (CSU) system has increased its own tuition cost by 30% . In Georgia, public universities recently lost $300 million from the budget and were forced to increase tuition by 35% . Granted, most of the funding is done on the State and local level, but the Federal Government can still grant them money which would prevent budget cuts like these.
So what would happen if we took a portion of money going to the Middle East and put it instead towards programs that are struggling because of a lack of funding? Well, in fiscal year 2010 the estimated deficit for North Carolina was 3.2 billion. The taxpayers of North Carolina are paying 3.3 billion for military operations in the Middle East annually . In other words, North Carolina could have a surplus if they were not forced to pay for the war. Another option besides spending the money on our deficits is investing it in medical research. The National Cancer Institute is the top government agency for cancer research and they only receive 6 billion dollars every year. We spent 81 billion dollars solely on the invasion of Iraq in ’03 . So not only could we exponentially increase our research for a cure for cancer but we could also give everyone in the US with HIV a lifetime supply of medication . I say this because the cost of AIDS/HIV medication for life is 618,900 dollars and there are about 1.2 million people in the US currently diagnosed with HIV. This means it would cost 742 billion to give everyone diagnosed with HIV the medicine they require. However, let’s get back to education. For the cost of 4 Super Cobra Helicopters (about 40 million), the government could give every single 3 to 4 year old across the country preschool. For the 1.21 trillion spent, the United States could have hired 16.7 million teachers for one year or given out 138 million scholarships for University students.
So what is a better investment: education, medical research, and other domestic programs or a foreign war?
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