Examining the priorities of a government is a bit more difficult, but a great place to start is with knowing where your tax dollars go:
Follow me inside, where we'll do a little analysis of where our money does go, and where people like us probably think that it should go.
Some other points of interest: 9 billion dollars for missle defense systems that don't work and aren't getting any better. 17 billion for maintenance on 6000 or so aging nukes. Russia has a comparable number and the next closest nation is France, with an estimated 350. (Russia and the US are allies now, so why can't we cut back? How many times can you scorch the same piece of earth?)
All criticisms aside, the bottom line is that, thanks to outrageous amounts of spending, the military capability of the US is by far, number one in the world.
All right, so what about the right side of the graph? It mostly consists of domestic programs: things like health care, education, and science. So how do we stack up in those areas? Very poorly, as it turns out.
The literacy rate of the US rate is only 49th in the world. The US ranks only just above Mexico (22nd) in childhood poverty, and is ranked 41st in the world for infant mortality rates. Women here are 70 percent more likely to die during childbirth here than in Europe. Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth, and the ID "debate" has other countries laughing their asses off at us.
These and other appaling facts reveal systems that are broken in some places and starved for funds in others.
The take home message seems to be: "We can't take care of our own residents, but man, can we kill a lot of foreigners."
So how do we fix this imbalance? Maybe we should pay teachers what they're worth. Maybe we should make sure that everyone has access to health care. Maybe we should quit sinking trillions of dollars into unprovoked wars.
Maybe it's just me, but I think it's time to listen to the left and shift the balance of that graph to the right.