Letter: Defense spending, Trump’s actions problematic

From: Doug Otto


Throughout my many years, I could say that I have had an average interest in politics. I was born a Republican and cast my first vote for Barry Goldwater. In time, I weaned myself from my some of Dad’s views and became more liberal. I’m conservative fiscally and liberal on social issues. I don’t think we can make college free to all or that college is right for every 18-year-old. Some should receive post-high school education in trades and jobs that don’t require college, such as Ivy Tech. I agree that we need to revamp our immigration policies, but no wall. I’m ambivalent on the death penalty and some aspects of abortion.

We’re going to hear candidates called socialist during the campaign. If one is in their 60s or older, and cash that check the government sends every month, and one lets the government pay the lion’s share of their medical bills, one is a socialist. It’s just a matter of degree. A hybrid of capitalism and socialism is what makes sense.

I have strong feelings of support for better education, action regarding climate change, infrastructure, sensible gun control, and health care for all. In order to address these issues, it takes money. The sacred cow of politicians and the hawkish electorate is defense. Over half the 2019 discretionary budget is allocated to defense ($686 billion of $1.3 trillion). That is more than the next seven countries combined. The last balanced budget was in 2001. If we continue to spend at that level, what will we have left to defend? I suggest that we have inherited a paranoia about defense, and there are large amounts of documented waste. If we cut 10 percent from the defense allocation, we could increase the budgets of all departments that have jurisdiction over the issues I mentioned by an average of 20 percent and still spend more on defense than the next five countries including China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. That won’t solve all our problems, but it will move the needle.

Now to our most dangerous immediate threat. Other than taking care of our families and our jobs, the American people have nothing more important to accomplish over the next two years than to get Donald Trump out of the White House. I have lived through presidents of both parties that I liked and ones I didn’t, but there has never been one who lacked the competence, honesty and judgement of this guy. Republicans I have talked with have said, “Yeah, but he sure gets a lot done.” But at what cost? His narcissism and constant lying are off the chart. And his respect for the world’s worst tyrants, his total lack of empathy and his unwillingness to listen to the advice of experts have put us at risk. There are Republicans that could represent us well: John Kasich, Larry Hogan and Nikki Haley. I might even vote for one of them. For the future of our children and grandchildren, Trump must go.