Invest in people, not the Pentagon

On March 1, when across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration were scheduled to go into effect, I want to remind everyone that there is plenty of room within the vast and wasteful Pentagon budget to make serious reductions to federal spending.

The Pentagon budget doubled from 1998 to 2010 – so even with deep cuts to the Pentagon, our country can still remain strong and provide full support to our veterans. And these cuts will allow us to protect the programs that address human needs and community well-being. That’s real security.

Though House and Senate Democrats have offered counter-proposals to the sequestration to protect vital human-needs programs, neither plan includes substantial reductions to the Pentagon budget, which takes up well more than 50 percent of our federal discretionary budget.

There is plenty of room to cut bloated Pentagon spending. Take the example of one poster child for Pentagon waste, the F-35 plane. It is overdue, over budget and still not working right. The cost of one F-35 is $610 million; just imagine how far that could go toward fixing public schools and repairing our roads, bridges, and highways.

We need to invest in people, not in the Pentagon.

Bryan Van Ausdall