Why pay for U.S. defense, but not health care?

It seems to me appropriate, during the debate on paying for national health care, to question the immense sums spent for defense. Is discussion of that budget taboo? Health care costs have seemed to spiral out of control but so too have U.S. defense costs.

Why do we spend some $610 billion per year? Is it really necessary that we spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined? Is the public even aware that U.S. defense spending increased by some 71 percent over just eight recent years?

Why in this economic climate was it necessary to increase defense spending by 10 percent from 2007 to 2008? What would be a reasonable amount to spend? And what would happen if we were to spend half as much and dedicate the remainder to paying for health care? Why not discuss this widely?

Donovan Russell

Moravia, N.Y.

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