Military Budget Cuts: Denominator Please

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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.