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Military spending for U.S. vs 13 nations, 2011
Military spending for 2011.
In the next several weeks, leading up to the second-time-around sequester and panic over defense cuts, we're going to be hearing a lot about the defense budget and a lot about how we're just going to have to look at slashing entitlements to pay the $525 billion price tag for national defense. That's the number that all the traditional media uses. But, did you know that the real amount we spend on national security isn't really the defense budget? Not by a long shot.
So how misleading is the $525 billion figure?
For starters, the $525.4 billion does not include $88.5 billion for unbudgeted costs of wars overseas, called Overseas Contingency Operations. Add other Pentagon spending details and the projected outlays (see fiscal 2013 budget at p. 84) come to $672.9 billion, which is 28 percent more than the basic Defense budget.

But wait!—There’s more.

Each year the Director of National Intelligence releases a total budget figure for national intelligence. For fiscal 2013 it was $52.6 billion, down from $53.9 billionin fiscal 2012. National security includes the NSA, CIA, and other intelligence services. Military intelligence spending, included in the base Defense budget, was $19.2 billion. (A good place to track these budget issues is the Federation of American Scientists Intelligence Resource Program.)

Next there’s $19.2 billion for the nuclear bomb-making arm of the Energy Department. Homeland Security includes $13.2 billion for customs and border patrol and $10.5 billion for the Coast Guard.

And there's more and more and more. Like the wars, which were, by the way, financed by debt. It's also the caring for the people who fought the wars. So, ultimately, the projected 2013 cost of national security, all-encompassing, nearly equals the $1.6 trillion that is projected in revenue from income taxes for the year. And here's a way of looking at that fact that is sort of mind-blowing: All but one dollar of your federal income taxes will go to national defense/security. In contrast, the combined total for Social Security and Medicare (paid for through payroll taxes) is $1.3 trillion.

That's context for the ongoing debt/deficit/austerity discussion the country is going to be having that needs to be kept firmly in mind, along with the fact that the U.S. spends more on it's military (just the military, not related spending as outlined above) than then next 13 countries, combined.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 02:37 PM PST.

Also republished by Group W: Resisting War and Daily Kos.

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