The military is the most important place for your tax dollars to go, that is the government's #1 primary job and responsibility. The US military is many hundreds of times more powerful than today's generation believes it too be. Iraq was militarily defeated in three weeks, we did not have a "10 year long war" with a minor nation of insignificant military power... they were defeated in the same three weeks that we can defeat any nation on earth except for Russia. Everything after that, "Mission Accomplished" (Remember, the day the war ended?) was what is called a "post-war occupation", and a completely successful one. No nation on earth, other than Russia, can last more than 3 weeks against the US military. China would last the same three weeks as anyone else. The idea of a "Chinese Navy" is a complete joke, we could sink the entire "Chinese Navy" in less than 24 hours without using a single ship of the US Navy. There is enough air power on Japan, Guam, and Taiwan to very easily do that. People today underestimate the US military by hundreds of times what it's true power is, because they believe that a minor nation "took the US on for ten years" which is complete nonsense. It's dangerous, actually, because "the aura of invincibility of the United States" is the #1 thing that keeps WWIII from breaking out. The primary thing that maintains peace in the world.
People also have backwards ideas about military equipment. The F-22 Raptor, for example, is not a broken waste of money. It is the true god of the skies and in a war war would clear the skies of enemy air superiority planes like they were sitting ducks. And the B2 stealth bomber is really useful against second rate powers, but the B1-B that everyone thinks was some kind of embarrassing failure is actually, far and away, the best bomber ever built. The B1-B was the dream of the Soviet Air Force, which we immediately made a 100 times better version of the moment we saw theirs, haha.
Thinking of money spent on defense is silly. When the crowd of enemy warriors comes charging over the hill to slaughter you and your family to take what you have, then you appreciate the need for defense. It is one of, if not the main reason that civilization even exists. Is to have a mutual defense. Since the end of WWII the US philosophy, based largely on Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower's philosophies, has been "Peace Through Strength". But Ike took it even farther than that, "the aura of invincibility of the United States". We intimidate other nations out of having wars through the fact that we cannot be defeated, and they know that. This is why we wind up being "the world's policemen" (the source of the reason for why that happens). And it works, or at least it has since the end of WWII. There hasn't been a big war since then. Only tiny, little, itsy-bitsy ones.
In WWII more soldiers would die in 30 minutes than died in the entire War on Terror combined. WWI was even worse. Our post-WWII system for keeping the peace works better than any other known to history, by far. The rest of history is a story of near constant continent-wide warfare. People forget that by comparison, "Pax America" is the most peacful and bloodless era of all of recorded history. The wars of the cold war and beyond era are tiny, and very few people die as have in past wars that usually involved most of a continent over a decade or longer.