Common Misconception About DoD Budget

Yet another example of a common misconception…..

Adam Ash wrote: (Really Unusually Uncertain – Readers’ Comments – NYTimes.com)

“While they may vent about the big spending on social services (healthcare, Medicare,
and Social Security, which is solvent, BTW), there’s not a single peep out of them about
our Godzilla-sized military spending.”

Fact:  EACH of the categories Adam lists as being unfairly targeted for cuts is LARGER than the
”Godzilla-sized military spending.”  Even if you add in $100B/yr for “emergency” funding of the
Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the DoD budget is certainly not “Godzilla-sized” compared to the
other spending (Federal, State and Local) that we do.  When you sum up all the “social services”
listed in this table alone, you see they add up to 21.8% of the GDP.  The DoD budget totals less
than 5% of GDP, barely twice the interest payments on the national debt!

United States Federal, State,
and Local Government Spending
Fiscal Year 2006
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_spending

Spending by Function Amount
(billion)
Percent
GDP

Pensions

$747.1

5.7

Health Care

$783.8

6.0

Education

$900.8

6.9

Defense

$622.2

4.8

Welfare

$411.4

3.2

Interest

$312.3

2.4

 

These numbers are from 2006 as posted in Wikipedia.  For updated and historical results:
http://usgovernmentspending.com/

Astounding numbers!  Especially when you consider the “social services” sector will expand
rapidly in coming years while the DoD is growing (if at all) at a much slower rate.

Note 1: Many critics fail to realize that the majority of spending in some “social services”
categories come from State and Local revenues.  Government costs are government costs,
regardless of the level.  All taxes/spending have impacts on the economy.  Furthermore,
much of the State and Local spending is mandated by Federal law… the costs just don’t
show up as Federal spending, hence the need to always talk about “government spending”
and not just Federal spending.

Note 2: Some on the anti-war side like to count future VA pensions as part of the war cost,
but fail to balance with the pension costs of the same personnel if there was no DoD.  And
of course, it is difficult to calculate the costs of terror or intimidation that could result from
not fighting these wars, any more than you can calculate the costs of reduced funding in
any of the social services categories.

What we do have here are the real numbers reported by  all administrations if you check
the site with current and historical data listed above.  For tabular version of 2010 numbers:
http://usgovernmentspending.com/year2010_US.html

If you go to the “Total” column in that chart, you’ll see that Pensions (Social Security) and
Healthcare have grown faster than DoD spending as expected, and Welfare spending has
nearly DOUBLED since 2006!

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