April 9, 2021

Press Contact: Olivia Alperstein, (202) 704-9011

“Pouring Money into the Pentagon Can’t Prevent Another Pandemic,
Stop Climate Change, or Build a Fair Economy”:
National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies 

Responds to Biden’s Skinny Budget

Washington, D.C. — On April 9, President Joe Biden unveiled the FY 2022 “skinny budget.” While not a full breakdown, the “skinny budget” offers a critical glimpse at topline spending and speaks volumes about the administration’s priorities.

The National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies issued the following statement:

At $753 billion, President Biden’s requested Pentagon budget increase continues the dangerous and short-sighted path of ballooning military spending set by President Trump, and fails to recognize the reality that our most critical challenges don’t have military solutions. The Pentagon request comes in at more than twice the annual spending proposed under President Biden’s jobs and infrastructure plan.

“The past year has made it crystal clear that safety comes from adequate health care and public health, housing, and financial security for poor and low-income people, not from the Pentagon,” said Lindsay Koshgarian, Program Director for the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. “Pouring money into the Pentagon can’t prevent another pandemic, stop climate change, or build a fair economy. This increase will only feed contractor greed and increase the likelihood of more military conflicts in more places.”

“There is no shortage of options for how to rein in the Pentagon’s excesses. Profitable weapons systems and costly service contracts account for more than half of the Pentagon budget, and the nation’s longest war continues to drain national coffers,” Koshgarian continued. “Experts from across the political spectrum have put forth detailed proposals for Pentagon cuts that would put real security needs above contractor profits and endless war.”

Every dollar spent on war and militarism is a dollar that isn’t spent on solving our most pressing problems. The cumulative cost of these wars has topped $6.4 trillion, and every one of those dollars could have been put to better use. Even a moderate ten percent cut in Pentagon spending could be used to create more than one million jobs in infrastructure, or end homelessness.

Our most urgent crises — including the pandemic, climate change, and racism — do not have military solutions.  On the contrary, they have solutions that will require international cooperation and collaboration and a view of other nations as much more than competitors or adversaries. Our budget should reflect that reality, with more resources for diplomacy and international investment — and fewer resources for military adventurism.

President Biden has a chance to revisit the question with his full budget request. The Pentagon budget should be cut by at least ten percent immediately, with additional cuts to follow. A recent call to significantly cut the Pentagon budget was backed by 50 Representatives. We should instead put that money toward desperately needed investment in our communities, a need that President Biden has recognized with his $2 trillion infrastructure package.

We will be safer when we fully fund the President’s vision for a safer, more equal United States, and when we finally treat military power as the last resort that it ought to be.


The National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies fights for a federal budget that prioritizes peace, economic opportunity, and shared prosperity for all. 

The National Priorities Project helps Americans understand where their tax dollars are going, and explore how Pentagon spending could be put to better use for domestic priorities.

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