U.S. Spends $1 Trillion a Year on Defense and Security
Since President Barack Obama unveiled his 2015 budget proposal, defenders of military spending have lamented the fiscal “downsizing” of the Pentagon. These hawks, both in Congress and from the defense industry, argue that the nation can’t afford to trim anything from the military.
As it is, Obama barely took anything off the Defense Department’s base budget. He’s proposed $495.6 billion in discretionary spending for next year—a mere $400 million, or eight one-hundredths of one percent, less than in 2014’s $496 billion budget.
Then there’s the matter of how much really is going towards national defense, according to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).
The pro-defense lobby focuses on the Pentagon’s discretionary budget, while conveniently ignoring the other $500 billion in tax dollars that help maintain the nation’s security each year.
For starters, there’s the money allocated for “Overseas Contingency Operations”—a fancy term for funding the war in Afghanistan. This budget item (separate from the Pentagon’s discretionary spending) eats up around $80 billion annually.
Another $20 billion goes to the Department of Energy for maintaining the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The Department of Homeland Security, whose sole reason for existence is protecting America, gets about $52 billion.
Throw in money for “defense-related activities,” “military retirement costs,” “international affairs” expenditures and interest owed on defense-related debt, which combine to total nearly $200 billion, and the grand total that the U.S. spends to defend itself comes to about $1 trillion annually, POGO estimates.
To Learn More:
America's $1 Trillion National Security Budget (Project on Government Oversight)
Disconnect: Public Wants Cuts in Defense Spending; Democratic and Republican Leaders Don’t (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)
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