$1.2 Trillion: The Real Cost of U.S. National Security

TomDispatchChristopher Hellman writes on TomDispatch.com:

So the big week is here as the federal budget heads for the Washington operating table. The question in the media will be: to shut or not to shut the government down — and whether that shutdown is likely to happen now, two weeks from now, or in the spring when raising the debt ceiling comes up for debate. In the meantime, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives is intent on taking out fuel subsidies for the poor, federal funding for Planned Parenthood, money for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System, and the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant that “supports state-based prenatal care programs and services for children with special needs,” among many other programs, but not (as New York Times columnist Gail Collins pointed out recently) the millions of dollars the U.S. Army sinks into its “relationship” with NASCAR.  The House voted down a proposal to eliminate that program a week ago by a wide margin.

Here’s the thing: the House Republicans are going after their version of unsightly pimples on the body politic — the programs they and their billionaire sponsors find ideologically unpalatable — without seriously considering where our money really flows. We at TomDispatch thought we might lend a hand to Congress’s deliberations this week by offering something new: the first real figure on what American taxpayers actually pay for the Pentagon, the U.S. military, homeland security, our distant wars, the care of veterans, intelligence, and every other aspect of our national security and war state.

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Eh! That’s only, what? 150% of the ‘official’ figure of $800 billion.

    Po-tay-to / Po-tah-to . . .

    • 5by5

      Ahh, the wonders of Enron accounting. Gotta love that off-budget financing. How very Reagan-esque. Next up? Dipping into Social Security’s pension trust fund that we’ve all paid into. Never mind that it amounts to breach of contract.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Eh! That’s only, what? 150% of the ‘official’ figure of $800 billion.

    Po-tay-to / Po-tah-to . . .

  • mrtastycakes

    I know it’s technically all “national security spending,” but it seems disingenuous to include diplomacy, VA benefits, pensions, humanitarian aid, and nonproliferation costs in there.

  • mrtastycakes

    I know it’s technically all “national security spending,” but it seems disingenuous to include diplomacy, VA benefits, pensions, humanitarian aid, and nonproliferation costs in there.

    • SoSpecial

      I would like to see the figure minus these. I know it will be lower but how much lower is the question. If this figure is overblown by spending which many would agree that is acceptable then maybe this article isn’t so shocking.

  • SoSpecial

    I would like to see the figure minus these. I know it will be lower but how much lower is the question. If this figure is overblown by spending which many would agree that is acceptable then maybe this article isn’t so shocking.

  • 5by5

    Ahh, the wonders of Enron accounting. Gotta love that off-budget financing. How very Reagan-esque. Next up? Dipping into Social Security’s pension trust fund that we’ve all paid into. Never mind that it amounts to breach of contract.