Seven Things We Could Do If We Cut the Pentagon by $100 Billion

 Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Mark Pocan

Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Mark Pocan have introduced the People Over Pentagon Act.

What would be possible if we had an extra $100 billion to spend on urgent human needs? 

Just weeks ago, Congress and President Biden agreed to a $858 billion Pentagon and war budget. That’s the highest the military budget has been since World War II. 

About half of the Pentagon budget every year goes to corporate contractors who pay their CEOs multi-million dollar salaries and engage in stock buybacks to artificially raise their own stock prices.

Meanwhile, back at home, the country faces dire challenges that military spending can’t solve. Ordinary folks are still struggling to pay their bills. The need for a transition away from fossil fuels has only become more urgent since the Russian invasion of Ukraine a year ago, and the resulting energy shortages. The recent train derailment and mounting health problems in Ohio point to a need for more rigorous environmental and rail protections. And schools and hospitals are struggling with ongoing staffing shortages.

The Pentagon and war budgets have increased by $100 billion just since 2018, and it has not made us any safer.

Today, Representative Barbara Lee and Representative Mark Pocan are re-introducing the People Over Pentagon Act. The Act would take $100 billion from the Pentagon and war budget, returning it to 2018 levels, and reinvest those dollars in critical programs here at home. 

"We shouldn't be adding billions upon billions of tax dollars to enrich Pentagon contractors at a time when real people are struggling. We're so used to hearing that we can't afford programs that meet real human needs for basics like housing, food, education, and child care. The truth is that we can definitely afford it, if we stop throwing money at Pentagon contractors," said Lindsay Koshgarian, Program Director at the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. 

Here are seven things we could do with $100 billion:

  1. Power every household in the United States with solar energy

  2. Hire one million elementary school teachers amid a worsening teacher shortage

  3. Provide free tuition for 2 out of 3 public college students in the U.S.

  4. Send every household in the U.S. a $700 check to help offset effects of inflation

  5. Hire 890,000 Registered Nurses to address shortages

  6. Cover medical care for 7 million veterans

  7. Triple current enrollment in Head Start, from 1 million children and families to 3 million

Want to know what else we could do with $100 billion? Check out our online calculator.