The Limits of Military Spending

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Trump’s stated solution to the U.S. military’s woes is more money. Aides say he wants to boost the annual Pentagon budget by about 10% and reinvigorate the Department of Veterans Affairs. That would pay for more troops, new bombers and submarines to deliver nuclear weapons, as well as a “state-of-the-art missile defense system.”

But cash alone probably won’t cut it. President Obama spent more on defense than his predecessor and hiked the Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 77%.

Trump also wants to hire more mental-health professionals and trim wait times for veterans, who could be offered free health care at private medical facilities. Fulfilling those proposals would require Congress to lift budget limits that aren’t set to expire until 2021. Capitol Hill’s deficit hawks are committed to keeping those caps in place.

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