largest expense for government
February 15, 2009 2:34am CST
National defense is one of the largest areas of expense for the government. The United States spends nearly $100 billion a year to support the armed forces and to provide other countries with militray assistance. National defense is a traditional function of government. The need for national defense is not questioned. However, the amount and the way in which these tax dollars are spent is the center of much argument. Many people deem that too much money is allocated to defense and that some of the money is wasted. They think that it could be better spent on social-welfare programs. Even those who are in favor of large defense spending argue about how and where the money is spent. For instance, if the Army closes a military base in South Carolina, it can mean that 5,000 civilian workers in the area lose their jobs. If the Air Force signs a contract with one company rather than with another company, many civilian jobs and large amounts of corporate profits are affected. Since defense spending in a particular area directly affects the area's economy, there is constant political give-and-take over how national defense programs should be carried out. Many decisions are made for local economic reasons, not for national defense reasons.