Chris Anstead | Unfair Criticism of Military Spending

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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Rep. Mike Garcia should be ashamed of himself for releasing a supposed letter of resignation from the viewpoint of an active-duty service member dated Dec. 28. His letter criticizes the White House, Pentagon and the Department of Defense for not properly funding or equipping our military, all of which Congressman Garcia knows is false. 

Just this year President Joe Biden signed one of the largest military budgets ever. It authorized over $800 billion in defense spending, which was an 8% increase over the year before and larger than any defense budget approved under President Donald Trump. Garcia’s argument is the false trope that Republicans use against the Democrats, that Democrats do not properly fund our military. 

In addition, Rep. Garcia criticizes our military leaders for being focused on “woke training nonsense.” Is he implying that our military should not focus on stopping sexual harassment or discrimination? His statement implies a complete lack of respect for our diverse military. 

The only redeeming factor of Congressman Garcia’s letter is his point concerning low pay for enlisted servicemen and lack of child care for our service members. As a West Point graduate and former Army officer, I too would like to see pay raised for our enlisted members so that no soldier or their family needs to be on food stamps. However, Congressman Garcia’s comment about low pay and food stamps should also apply to all workers in our nation. It is a national travesty that our nation’s federal minimum wage is still at $7.25. 

Lastly, Congressman Garcia points out that child care is important to military families and it helps in allowing our young adults a chance to join the workforce. In fact, a study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that if the child care subsidies in the Build Back Better bill that President Biden had proposed had been enacted, 1.2 million more people would have been able to participate in the labor force. This is important because following COVID-19 many workers have not returned to the workforce, thereby leaving many jobs unfilled, which hinders our economy from growing.  

What Congressman Garcia fails to mention is that his party was in fierce opposition to the Build Back Better bill. In fact, current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stated that the child subsidies contained in the bill were a government takeover of child care and opposed it.   

I recommend Congressman Garcia look to his own party’s policies before placing blame and spreading false information about the Biden Administration’s support of our nation’s military.      

Chris Anstead

Mayor, City of Agoura Hills

Editor’s note: Anstead submitted this letter representing his own personal opinion, not as an official stance of the Agoura Hills City Council.

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