Tuesday, April 5, 2011

PSA: The Actual Cost of the National Security Apparatus in the U.S. Is About $1.2 Trillion Per Year

As Congress tries this week to avoid a government shutdown, it's important to take stock of just how much we spend on our national security apparatus / military-industrial complex.

The military budget as it is normally reported in the press is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of $685 billion - this figure includes the Pentagon's budget as well as supplementary funds passed to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chris Hellman gives a more thorough account of the cost of national security to the U.S., however, including such necessaries as intelligence operations, veterans benefits, military aid and peacekeeping expenses, pension benefits, and security expenses' share of interest on U.S. debt.

He calculates total U.S. spending on national security this year at a staggering $1,219 billion, against a total federal budget of about $3,700 billion (or about 33% of the total federal budget) and against proposed domestic discretionary spending this year (as proposed by the Democrats and Republicans in their budget negotiations, which includes lots of things people like, such as education funding, roads, national parks, museums, and pretty much everything else that isn't Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest payments) of around $1,050 billion - $1,060 billion.

Wow - $1,219 billion - that's a lot of money. Seeing as how we are only $33 billion away from preventing a government shutdown on Friday, my guess is that it would be pretty easy to find $33 billion in inefficiencies and waste to cut from our $1,219 billion national security bill.

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