Your slice of the Pentagon budget

Your slice of the Pentagon budget

In Fiscal 2012 the Defense Department asked for $553 billion in its base budget and $118 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ever wonder how much of that you specifically might have been on the hook for?

The White House on Wednesday unveiled a new “Federal Taxpayer Receipt” tool that lets you plug in the amount you paid in taxes and shows how all of it was distributed across the federal government, from the National Soup Administration to the Bureau of Nuts. At the very top of your “receipt” is the listing “national defense.”

At 24.9 percent of the “receipt,” national defense is the biggest single piece of this pie, which the White House breaks down further by accounting for “Military personnel salaries and benefits;” “Ongoing operations, equipment and supplies;” “Research, development, weapons and construction;” “Atomic energy defense activities;” and “Defense-related FBI activities and additional national defense.”


So a hypothetical family of four — two married adults and two kids — that earned about $80,000 in 2011 paid a total of $9,110 in income and payroll taxes, according to one preset case. Of that, $1,142.91 went to “national defense,” including $266.22 for salaries and benefits; $472.77 for ongoing operations; $362.61 for weapons and construction; $32.12 for “atomic;” and $9.18 for “Defense-related FBI,” etc.

The next biggest section of the receipt is “health care,” which accounts for 23.7 percent, and then everything else falls off a cliff by comparison. “International affairs” is only 1.6 percent, for a total of $73.44, and with that you bought “Development and humanitarian assistance;” “security assistance;” and “foreign affairs, embassies and additional international affairs.” You paid 4.5 percent for “Veterans benefits,” or $206.55 for our hypothetical family.

Here’s another interesting tidbit: After defense, health care and “job and family security,” the biggest slice of this receipt, at 8.1 percent, is “net interest” — service on the national debt. That partly reflects the imbalance between the amount the federal government has been spending and the amount it takes in, with the difference made up by borrowed money. Last year’s war over the near-term solution to that dilemma is what gave us the farce of the “super committee” and now has left the Pentagon terrified that “sequestration” will take effect in January.

The White House’s spending receipt tool is transparently political — it asks if you knew that “1,470 people who made more than $1 million in 2009 paid $0 in federal income taxes” and promises President Obama’s proposed new tax would “ensure everyone pays their fair share.” Still, the budget is what it is, so there’s only so much the White House can do to sell the president beyond just presenting the numbers and percentages. The question is, what will people do after seeing a pie chart in which nearly one quarter is defense spending?

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Funny, national defense spending is in the constitution. That 25% is warranted.

Federally funded “Health Care” and “Job/Family Security” equaling a whopping 43% of the pie is what should be shocking. Especially since financially responsible, taxpaying citizens rarely see much of ANY of this money back. At least there is a ROI in defense spending with jobs, tax revenue from those skilled jobs, and an ACTUAL DEFENSE PRODUCT!

The single biggest allocation of dollars that get taken from me (taxes) is social security, then medicare, then defense. Good job Phil, way to promote the liberal agenda.

Yea because we don’t want healthy secure Americans and certainly don’t want you to get a basic education.

Help me find “Basic Education” in the “Health Care” or “Job/Family Security” 43%. There’s an entire 3.6% devoted specifically to “Education”. Based on your response, perhaps we should allocate a bit more.

And nobody said “Lets zero out the Healthcare and Family Security budget”. Spending a whopping 43% of tax revenue on these black holes is precisely why we are deep in the red.

As with anything, much depends on what you include in the conversation. Social Security and Medicare are funded from payroll taxes, not from income taxes, not from the general fund.

Basic Education is not funded by the Federal Government. Its paid for by local states. Thats why the percentage of FEDERAL TAXES spent on it is so low

It’s still money taken from that individual citizen which is the point of this exercise.

A minor comment: the simulation discussed in the article did include payroll taxes as part of what we pay out in federal taxes. Also, if one includes the taxes from folks involved in national defense businesses as part of the return on investment, one should be fair and include the contributions coming from healthier folks working in other venues. As an example, there are data showing that the return on investment from the GI Bill covering World War II veterans was many times the cost of the education component of that program. I received full support for my undergraduate degree and some graduate work; have been fully employed from 1951 on (am still working and contributing taxes, etc.; will be 85 in a couple of weeks). So there is positive return on investment from social action programs!

Nice idea for a receipt system we can all get sticker shock when you read it.

“$118 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan”

Hmm, I swear we spent well over a trillion dollars on these wars so far. Why factor only less then 10% of the cost?

It would be interesting to see the ROI for each type of social action program. My father and I both used the GI Bill (and I used tuition assistance) so we’re in the same category with you.

Awesome, hope I provide similar return of investment form the GI Bill. So far I’d say that the money’s been wasted on a fraudulent educational system. I have to work pretty hard now to pay for what I lost to this horrific idea of education. I’ve lived off social programs for a little while, particulary the GI Bill, but I’ve also worked technical jobs (20 to 30 an hour) 12–16 hours a day, 7 days a week for years, before and after my social experience. I feel it is tremendously important to provide a baseline for our country when it comes to re-investing. I just wish the a-holes screwing the system would get the blame instead of hard working American’s.

“In Fiscal 2012 the Defense Department asked for $553 billion in its base budget and $118 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

In Fiscal 2012. All of the numbers in this article were for last year only.

This article is about how much the tax payer owes the government for these expenses. Being we been at war for over a decade, we’d want to know the total amount we owe. Not just one year. It’s like a car dealership, they don’t want you to pay just 1 year of your car payment. They want the entire thing.

Can we see our slice of the entitlement budget?

that’s hilarious, if you watch Faux news you’d think most Americans spend a lot of their free time worrying about the next sneak attack. For a country that’s never been invaded people sure are nervous about everything foreign

I’m including money that is not in my paycheck that the government has taken. I’m not seeing the complexity there. Simple math. I make $100, federal government takes $40, the largest single spends from that $40 is social sec and medicare and then defense.. where is there room for ambiguity in that?

I think every America should have the same health care as Gates and Warren Buffet.
They get their large breaks and we should get ours. Those fake military buffs on here who think our troops have too many perks need to get a life. Mitt Romey and Sarah Palin are fake and those fake military wannabes that comment here a lot who worship them have no life.

I contend SS is bankrupt now. And the President said so on camera! Remember the Debt limit debate last year? The president said, on camera, that if the debt limit was not raised he could not send out that month’s SS checks. Think about it.… When SS was solvent, checks were paid out from what we had paid in. If the government could not send out that month’s checks, as the president stated, then the checks were being paid with borrowed funds, not from what we paid in. Bankrupt!

I think I would rather have the money going for a strong defense, and less going to entitlement programs, but apparently most dont see it that way, it appears as tho we think the defense budget is the bigger piece of the pie, it just isnt true, entitlements and other spending has risen more than the defense spending wars asside.!!

But the Feds have an enormus Budget for a department that really does not need to Exist The Department of Education, since it is suppose to be at the State level so why such a hugh budget for this department

Your math is way off, the $40 the governement take you forgot the $3 to $4 dollars given back as Earned Income Tax Credit to those who never pay Income Tax, then the money for MEDICAID which is not funded from SS or Medicare payment you make and the money given for Social entitlements like food stamps, welfare then you have Defense

And you believe this president? Get a grip!

If you really care about the defense of this nation, then you will try to stop the DoD from paying contractors $1.10 for every $1.00 they spend developing new weapons. This is the result:

The cost of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) major acquisition programs grew by $74.4 billion in the past year and now totals more than $1.58 trillion, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. And, this $74.4 billion is just a fraction of the overall cost growth in a DoD weapons acquisition portfolio that, on balance, is delivering fewer weapons for more money.

The defense acquisitions portfolio has been plagued by reductions in the number of weapons delivered, delayed delivery times, and enormous cost overruns. In fact, the total acquisition cost of this portfolio has grown by $447 billion, 40 percent above initial cost estimates.

Despite the cost growth, many of these programs, will deliver fewer quantities of weapons. Because the total cost of these programs is divided over fewer quantities of weapons, there has been an average 46 percent increase in the per unit cost of the 38 major weapons programs for which the GAO provided baseline and currents estimates of cost and quantity, according to a POGO analysis.

This was a major problem during the past year, as the GAO report noted, “Over 60 percent of programs have lost buying power in the last year—as measured by an increase in program acquisition unit cost—depriving DOD of funding that could have been used for additional quantities or other priorities.” — http://​pogoblog​.typepad​.com/​p​o​g​o​/​2​0​1​2​/​0​4​/​t​h​e​-​p​ent

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