“Invest in America. Educate Americans. Grow the workforce. Build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down.”

 President Joe Biden, 2022 State of the Union address

By Lindsay Koshgarian, National Priorities Project

President Biden called for major new investments in people, communities, and infrastructure in his State of the Union address. But his calls fly in the face of the real spending patterns in this country, where military spending is routinely larger than spending on early childhood education, public K-12 education, job training, housing, public health, and medical and scientific research combined.

Biden has called for many of the things the country desperately needs: more spending on families, early childhood education, housing, public education, home care, and clean energy, among other things, as part of his Build Back Better plan. But his administration seems to have lost its way in promoting those spending priorities after a major setback. Instead of backing off, this is the time to double down.

joe biden

None of that hesitation has been on display when it comes to military spending. Last year, with plans to end the United States’ longest active war in Afghanistan, the administration called for a $753 billion military budget, higher than the last military budget under President Trump. Congress has so far obliged by meeting that request and adding $25 billion on top, and they are likely to increase the budget still further before the FY 2022 budget is finally set.

Understandably, right now, calls for military spending increases call to mind Russian President Vladimir Putin’s devastating and illegal invasion of Ukraine. Many people in this country share the impulses to help Ukrainians and stand up to a dictator.

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