Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times

U.S. News


Responsibility for Domestic Affairs

Income inequality, education, and healthcare issues now dominate U.S. domestic affairs more than ever before. Since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attack, U.S. military spending has increased by over 50 percent.

While we continue to pour so much money into defense, income inequality has grown as the top one percent owns more wealth than the bottom 99 percent. Our educational system K-12 ranks 27th in the world and our students owe more than $1.5 trillion in loans. Additionally, our healthcare system continues to fail particularly those who can’t afford it and prescription drug costs are unaffordable for many. While all this has been happening, the rest of the developed countries are improving their domestic affairs and outperforming us. If the U.S. wishes to progress as a nation and prepare for the ever-changing world, it must invest more money and find solutions for its domestic problems.

There will always be threats. The U.S. pours so much into its defense budget to defend not only the U.S. but other parts of the world where it has interests and influence. The problem, however, is that there will always be threats. The U.S. and its allies continue to fight the war on terror especially with the rise of ISIS. Scientists warn of the resulting effects of climate change, and the rise of the migrant and refugee crisis to name a few. The world is now more integrated and competitive than ever before. Relegating U.S. domestic issues to the back burner is no longer possible. Furthermore, the U.S. military can’t expect to recruit the best and brightest or lead in foreign affairs if they haven’t received the best education or are not healthy enough to serve.

The U.S. has the resources and although it might have the largest economy, it ranks 5th as an overall developed nation – mostly because its educational, healthcare and infrastructure systems lag behind when compared to its developed peers using the human development index (HDI). With the largest economy in the world, the U.S. educational, healthcare and other domestics systems shouldn’t be failing its citizens. The U.S. has the money, resources, and capacity to improve our domestic ills and make them competitive with our peer countries.

Responsibility to domestic affairs. Although it’s great that the U.S. has assumed leadership in tackling global issues, it has a responsibility to address those that affect the daily lives of its citizens. When domestic policies aren’t tended to, citizens grow agitated and unrest ensues. Just a month ago, teachers serving in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest in the nation, staged a protest for the first time in 30 years. Their main reason for demonstrating was the lack of investment in their schools. The demonstration in Los Angeles isn’t isolated. Around the country, teachers are discontented with the current educational system because it fails to provide the resources to educate their students, our children, and our future.

The U.S. already has the most advanced weapons in the world and spends more on defense than any country in the world. That’s more than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan combined. The continuing rise of global issues is inevitable. U.S. investments in the defense sector can only take us so far. Ultimately, our domestic issues will begin to interfere with how we perform internationally.

For the sake of international order, the U.S. has neglected domestic priorities. This issue is of growing concern because our allies and competitors have invested heavily in their domestic policies. The U.S. cannot hope to only dominate in defense and foreign affairs when its domestic affairs are faltering and/or failing us. Let us go back to the way things were (with improvements) and invest in our domestic priorities like healthcare, education, the environment, and living wages. Let us show our citizens that we care.