I was listening to the reports of the trillion dollar cut to the military budget by President Obama and I decided to look into it. How much is the military budget? How much would it affect their budget. It turns out their annual budget is a little over .6 trillion so according to that they will owe the budget .4 trillion each year. Obviously something is amiss. It turns out numbers are confusing and the military is even more confused. The GAO (Government Accounting Office) can’t rate the military budget as accurate or misleading because of the lack of proper accounting practices. That’s reassuring. The costs for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not even included in the military budget and are classified as supplemental budget items so the actual military budget is actually higher than the .6 trillion. An accurate cost of the wars isn’t available since there are the direct costs of killing and blowing things up and then there are the indirect costs of the impact on the Vetrans Administration and the like. The one trillion dollar cut must be a multi-year total cut?
The one piece of information I did find on the budget that I think I can trust as accurate is available on Wikipedia. Two graphs that I find most interesting show where the money comes from and where it goes in pie charts. US Federal Spending and US Federal Tax Receipts.
There are three interesting items that become obvious when looking at the pie charts. The military budget, Social Security budget, and Medicare budget amounts are about equal. From a cost benefit analysis I would think the military proportion is too high. But the second thing that becomes obvious is that social security taxes account for about 33% more than social security benefits. The rest is used by other items in the budget like the military. That tears a hole in the argument that cutting social security payments is needed. Obviously they wouldn’t be cutting the social security taxes so the intent would seem to be to move the benefit payments to other budget items for which they are not intended. The third thing that is obvious, looking at the tax receipts pie chart, is how corporations really do pay nothing relative to their income. We really do need to increase corporate taxes. Yes we might pay the increased taxes in the end but we also might not. It would provide a great incentive to buy from the little businesses that are not corporations like your neighbor. He’s already paying his share.