The mortgage mess has really screwed our schools up. Budgets are tightening and nearly collapsing all over the country. Extracurricular programs like sports, music, and art are scrambling to stay alive which is just ridiculous.
Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security and interest on the national debt cost a ton of money and there is very little that can be done with them, especially if no meaningful health care reform happens. Military spending is another big bucket. According to our 2010 budget, about half of our “discretionary” spending is going to the Department of Defense. Discretionary must mean something different than what I think because I’ve heard politicians, including the President, say that military spending is not eligible for cuts.
The Department of Defense will be getting about $667 billion this year. The Department of Education will be getting about $47 billion from the federal government. That doesn’t include state and local money, of course.
In 2000, there were about 70 million kids and adults enrolled in school at some level up through grad school in the United States. That’s got to be higher today, so let’s say 100 million.
As of 2008, the United States accounted for over 40% of the entire worlds military spending racking up $607 billion. The next closest country was China at about $85 billion.
Let’s say we were going to make military spending truly discretionary and cut it in half. and take that money and toss it into the Department of Education. That would give the Department of Education an extra $333 billion and would leave our military spending 3 times higher than the next nearest country.
That would give about $3,300 for each and every student in any level of education all the way through grad school. The estimates that I found about how much the schools budget for each kid in kindergarten through high school seem to be between $5,000 and $13,000. An extra $3,000 would probably go a long way at educating our country.
But if we cut the military spending, think about all the jobs that would be lost with no hope of finding that many jobs out in the non-military world. It seems like the military has officially become too big to fail.