Santa was good to the U.S. armed forces. On December 27th President Biden signed a defence bill for nearly $770-billion.
This was $24-billion more than he had asked for, but Congress was in a generous mood. It was the Christmas season after all. The bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate with broad support from both parties. They increased spending in almost every part of the military.
The collegiality of the parties was impressive compared to the infighting and rancour the president has to deal with in getting his proposed Build Back Better Act passed. Build Back Better has even tripped over opposition from members of Biden’s own party and is now stalled. Its goals are (or were) to fight climate change and create a more equitable, compassionate American society.
These goals are apparently subordinate to ever more weaponry for the military. This despite the fact that the Americans generate almost 40 percent of the world’s military spending, almost two and a half times as much as China and Russian combined.
Yet the Build Back Better Act will do more for Americans’ security than its military. The two biggest threats to their security are climate change and a collapse of their political system brought about by growing inequality. The latter is creating a dangerously divided society that could tear itself apart if the fear and resentment of millions of alienated Americans aren’t mollified by a sense that the system is working for them.
The priorities of the nation’s lawmakers seem somewhat askew. But for the military at least, it should be a very happy new year.