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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Military Budget Cuts: Denominator Please

Military Budget Cuts: Denominator Please

Friday, 27 January 2012 06:36

The Washington Post reported on the Obama administration's plans to cut the military budget. It reports that the administration plans cuts of $487 billion over the next decade, but warns that the cuts could be as large as $600 billion.

It is unlikely that many readers would have the ability to assess the significance of cuts of this magnitude since few know how much the country is expected to spend on the military over this period. The baseline projections show that the government will spend roughly $8 trillion on the military over the decade. This means that the cuts proposed by the Obama administration come to a bit more than 6 percent of projected spending over this period. Six hundred billion in cuts would amount to roughly 7.5 percent of projected spending. It is worth noting that even under the larger package of cuts, we would still be spending a larger share of GDP on the military than we did in 2000.

Comments (4)Add Comment
written by RZ0, January 27, 2012 5:59
Also worth noting that we spend far, far more on military than any other country.
Oh! Oh! I have an idea!
written by Kat, January 27, 2012 7:36
Why don't we end military aid here before we start cutting wages and benefits:
I mean, I know you get a real bang for your buck-- undermining labor rights and all...
Should Never Have Been A Standing Army
written by Stephen Kriz, January 27, 2012 12:08
Most people don't realize that having a standing Army and Marine Corps is a relatively new thing in American history and far from the Founders intent. They were deeply skeptical of having a standing army, and instead envisioned state and local militias that would come together in a time of war, under a Commander-in-Chief. That is also the origin of the 2nd Amendment. A standing army is extremely expensive, leads to more wars not less, and is corrosive to a democratic republic. Where are the right-wing Constitution worshippers on this???
A standing army is also unconstitutional
written by Bill H, January 28, 2012 12:50
Article 1 Section 8 of the constitution, enumerating the powers of Congress, includes, "To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years."

One should note, also, that not only is the $487/$600 billion a very small percentage of our military spending, but the cut is not a reduction of present spending but is a reduction of proposed future spending. That means that military spending will not decrease at all, it will merely increase to a lesser degree.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.