We can afford education if we defund the police

Olympia and Thurston County

Defund the police means transferring those funds to other programs. Here in Olympia, Washington 4.8% of our tax dollars goes to police and military from all levels of government. About $1000 per capita between Olympia and Thurston County.

Simplifying the data from this spreadsheet from the county:

Age group Population Percent of population
0-14 53400 18.14%
15-19 18202 6.18%
20-24 16657 5.66%
25-64 153241 52.06%
65+ 52832 17.95%

If we cut the police funding for Thurston County alone in half, that would be a total of 44.5 million dollars which are freed up. If we decided to create college grants for all of our 20-24 year olds to go to college that would be equivalent to a $5000 annual grant which would allow each and every young person in Thurston County to go to college.

Funding education means we don’t need as much law enforcement because there will be less crime. Less crime means we don’t need as many police.

I almost titled this post “we don’t need such large police budgets if we just funded education.”

Better access to education leads to a more equal society. More equal societies experience less crime. The need for law and justice to consume $89 million will be unnecessary at that point.

For children in Olympia, $20 million goes to fund the police for a city with 52,882 people at last count. This would essentially double the amount of money a child growing up in Olympia could receive as a college grant. This would add up to $10,000 per year when you are going to school. For comparison, tuition at the University of Washington is currently $11,207. At Western Washington University it is $8126. We could send every child in Olympia proper to college at Western and give them an additional $2000 as a grant to help cover expenses and it wouldn’t cost us a dime.

We have the money to send everyone to college for free, we are just wasting it in inefficient spending.

This is what defund the police means.

The United States

We don’t even have to worry about the State or local level if we look to reduce the Federal military budget to fund education. The United States Department of Defense has a budget of around $2000 per person in America.

Age group Population Percent of population
0-14 60,810,971 18.37%
15-19 21,242,908 6.42%
20-24 22,258,745 6.72%
25-64 171,641,217 51.85%
65+ 55,048,806 16.63%

The United States population pyramid is very similar to Thurston County. If we were to provide $10,000 for every American between the ages of 20 and 24 to go to college, it would cost us about $672 per person, or $222 billion. If we removed this from our budget we would still have the largest military budget in the world of around $426 billion. For comparison, China’s military budget is the second largest in the world at $250 billion.

What would be the impact of the economy of a slashing of the military budget? Well, the multiplier effect of military spending is generally estimated to be around 0.6 in multiple studies. According to SUNY the multiplier for college ranges from 1.84 to as high as 26.

Put in other words, $222 billion of military spending will add about $133 billion to the US economy. $222 billion of education spending however will add at least $408 billion to the US economy.

Would you rather add $133 billion to our GDP or over $408 billion?


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