See? The Military is Bankrupting Us!

Here is a handy graphic found at Instapundit:

defense vs. non-defense spending

Defense vs. Non-Defense Spending, 1960-2010

I’ve made this argument many, many times in conversation. I am always shocked when so few people believe that the spending on the military is less than on other programs. It’s consistently like 80%-90% who don’t believe me.

Remember the bump over the past three years when someone tells you how Bush’s wars are bankrupting America.

Comments

  1. If you’d like to pull the lefties chain a bit more. Comment to them; the military is the most valuable social service the Government provides. When they lite up………..point out that keeping them free and alive to enjoy all those constitutionally guaranteed rights is in fact……….a social service. LOL!

    Speaking of spending…..there was just a report on Fox News about the Mayor of Las Vegas being pissed off at the Obamanation again for dissing Vegas again. Apparently the Commander in Fiscal Prudence, had stated that people shouldn’t be blowing their budgets in Vegas when they could be saving for college ‘n stuff. Obama, or anyone in this Congress lecturing anyone else on fiscal prudence has to be the epitome of irony and hypocracy, and were it to precipitate a spontaneous homicide (listener on speaker), I’m thinking the perp might have a chance at using it as a “I was provoked beyond all endurance” defense. LOL!

  2. This is one way to present the data. However, defense spending is still the largest single item in the budget at around 1/5 to 1/4 the total.

    I also wouldn’t be too eager to defend the budget record of President Prescription Drugs Benefit.

  3. How does Social Security fit in here? Does this graph lump all federal dollars together, or just discretionary spending? Many on the left like to pretend SS is a separate thing from federal spending, which then makes defense spending look much larger.

    Don’t forget, when you figure in what states and local jurisdictions pay as percentage of education, plus federal dollars, we spend more on education annually than we do on defense. At least that was the case several years ago, the two may have switched since then.

  4. The figure presented by that graph is BOGUS.

    To quote CDI, Those levels of Pentagon spending do not include what we pay for foreign aid, arms sales and arms control, Veterans, Homeland Security, the Pentagon’s share of interest on the national debt, and more. To tally up our entire national security budget, we can get very cozy with $1 Trillion.

    Observe here;
    http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=4579&from_page=../index.cfm

    …and here;
    http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=4581&from_page=../index.cfm

    1. …And why should DoD be charged with “foreign aid, arms sales, … arms control or Homeland Security?” Not to mention the Veterans Administration. The latter, for example, is dedicated mostly to those out of service.

      As for the Pentagon share of the debt, it’s already subsumed in the debt graphic.

      A weak attempt to inflate “defense” spending.

      As for William C’s tu quoque, you see him and raise him an appeal to authority. Not that being any kind of flag-rank officer lends especial expertise to accounting or budgeting issues, since that was the thrust of the original post.

      Let us also note that the original analysis came from Cato; an unlikely group of war-hawks. 🙂

      Attempts at spin (in either direction) aside, the graph illustrates some interesting things, including the fact that the Nixon administration cut the DoD budget in half from 1968 (10%) to about 1974 (5%). At the same time, nondefense (having increased greatly since 1968) spikes from about 12% to nearly 15% in ’74. Note that all of this under the “conservative” Nixon, someone who was nearly responsible for the explosion of Federal increases as was LBJ.

      Carter’s administration let nondefense slack off a bit, but also allowed DoD spending to drop the lowest level until after the end of the Cold War.

      Reagan increased DoD spending, but also allowed nondefense to return to 15% during his first administration, but dropped a good 3% during the second.

      Then we get to Bush ’41 & Clinton. Note that nondefense increased under Bush, while decreased somewhat under Clinton. Also note that cuts in Dod started during Bush ’41s administration, but accelerated during Clinton’s. I think this reflects less a Lefty need to cut defense, than cutting spending overall, considering the nondefense cuts made by Clinton.

      Bush ’43s budget increased DoD as a result of 9/11, but also increased nondefense to Carter-era levels. Current DoD spending is barely at the same level as at 1979, the time of the “Hollow Army,” but in fairness we’re spending that money on fewer troops these days. Volunteers cost more than conscripts. Not to mention the botched LCS program. 🙁

      Let us return to the original post. The bottom line (excuse the pun) is that DoD spending is not the primary cause of current financial concerns, and it is facially absurd to claim otherwise, especially in the face of huge increases in nondefense spending. It’s just that simple.

      1. “The bottom line (excuse the pun) is that DoD spending is not the primary cause of current financial concerns…”

        Actually, the bottom line is that they’re taking too much money for what little they deliver. Three times to total defense expenditures of all the rest of the world combined is NOT excusable — particularly in light of the fact that the US military is at it’s lowest level of preparedness since the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

        …And why should DoD be charged with “foreign aid, arms sales, … arms control or Homeland Security?” Not to mention the Veterans Administration. The latter, for example, is dedicated mostly to those out of service.

        The Pentagon has a LOT of say over what we spend money on, and how much we spend, on Foreign Aid and Arms Sales — and they’re ALWAYS keen on getting a “cut”.
        Most of the US involvement of Arms Control and Homeland Security is done By the Pentagon, and nearly all is done THROUGH the Pentagon.

        As for Veterans Benefits, retired Army Ranger John T. Reed says it best; http://www.johntreed.com/liberal.html

        “They and their dependents get 100% bottomless pit, no co-pay medical care from cradle to grave.

        They get paid a lot for doing nothing when they retire which they can do as soon as 20 years—sooner if they have a service-connected disability. The U.S. military’s payroll for its retirees surpassed its payroll for active duty personnel decades ago. In my area, Vallejo, CA went bankrupt recently. Municipal bankruptcies are almost unheard of in the U.S. When asked why, the mayor said,

        ‘We have three police forces: one on duty and two retired.’

        How many Armies, Navies, Air Forces, and Marine Corps are the U.S. taxpayers now paying for?

  5. The current budgetary crisis is only partly being blamed on the military…and then only because of two wars not being funded by a tax increase.

    The other issues are with Prescription Drug Entitlements, and and general tax cuts. All at the same time. And then followed by the banking deregulation related bubble popping.

  6. Blacktail is widely believed to Sparky AKA Mike Sparks. The same guy with the M113 obsession! Based on the insanity of his web pages I wouldn’t trust a word he says when it comes to the budget.

    1. “Blacktail is widely believed to Sparky AKA Mike Sparks.”
      Your position must be VERY weak, that you resort to spreading false rumors INSTEAD of presenting an argument.

      Based on the insanity of his web pages I wouldn’t trust a word he says when it comes to the budget.
      It seems you haven’t noticed; the website I cited is the Center for Defense Information — a site whose senior staff includes 2 US Marine 4-star Generals.

      It’s also no secret that Mr. Sparks has an axe to grind with the USMC; if I were Mike Sparks, why would I cite CDI?

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