The budget proposal recently put forward by President Bush increases the budget of the federal government for fiscal year 2003 by 3.7 percent at a time when the economy is stumbling out of a recession. The total bill for taxpayers comes to a whopping 2.13 trillion dollars. Most of the increases are directed to domestic security and the war on terrorism, Bush’s two top priorities. While it is a refreshing change of pace to see spending initiatives on things that are geared towards objectives that are actually consistent with article I, section 8 of the Constitution, the necessity of those initiatives is debatable.More measures providing for homeland security are needed, but it is questionable how large a role the federal government should play. Mandating secure cockpit doors in airplanes is a good idea. Keeping known terrorists out of the country is also a good idea. Making all airport security federal agents is not a good idea. A boost in funding is needed, but nowhere near what Bush proposes is necessary; many of his ideas could be counterproductive.
Regarding the war on terrorism and the $48 billion that Bush wants to increase the size of the military, such a windfall for the Defense Department is unneeded. Even without the proposed increase, the U.S. military is larger than the next seven largest militaries combined. Five of those seven countries are our allies. The war on terrorism requires different priorities than the cold war or America’s recent forays into the futile art of nation-building. A renewed emphasis on intelligence and elite forces is in order. A budget increase is entirely unnecessary. What is needed is a changing of priorities, not the addition of new ones.