Military Spending Myth

A prevailing myth in American society about military spending have been flying around for years. Many of these people believe or insinuate that military spending is the biggest cost to the federal budget, and we can cut defense spending then allocate it to social programs like healthcare or education. Although defense spending is around $609 billion, it isn’t the most expensive portion of the budget. In 2015, it only accounts for about 16% of total federal spending. The biggest portion comes from the welfare state (medicare/health, unemployment benefits/social security, education, housing), which is 65% ($2.49 trillion) of total federal spending. In terms of discretionary spending (taxes that Congress appropriates), military spending accounts for 53%. A lot of people misconstrue that data and project it to seem as if it was actual total spending [1].

As a percentage of GDP (3.3% in 2015), we spend less of our wealth on it compared to other countries [2]. In 2014, it was 3.5% (lower rate compared to the 1960s), which was lower than Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s spending as a part of GDP [3]. It kept falling during the years as the welfare state kept growing. Social security became the dominant cost of total federal spending since 1993, beating defense spending until now [4]. As a result, military spending does not constitute as the biggest cost to total federal spending, and allocating more resources to a growing and failing welfare state will not fix any of our problems. Should the American government cut back on defense spending? Yes, they should, but not for the welfare state. The private sector is better off keeping a larger portion of their resources to develop the economy even further.





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