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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Impact of Cuts to the Military Budget

The Impact of Cuts to the Military Budget

Thursday, 01 September 2011 05:00

The Post reported on a speech that General David Petraeus gave at the ceremony marking his retirement from the military. It noted that he warned against excessive cuts in the military. The piece notes that cuts in the range of $400 billion to $1 trillion over the next decade have been suggested by President Obama and members of Congress.

It would have been helpful to put these numbers in context for readers. The current projections show a baseline where the government will spend just under $8 trillion on the military over the next decade. This is approximately 4 percent of GDP and 17.0 percent of the total budget. (This does not count many military related expenditures like veterans benefits.)

If the larger $1 trillion sum was deducted from projected spending, the country would still be spending roughly 3.5 percent of GDP on the military. By contrast, it was spending just 3.0 percent in 2000. At the time, spending was projected to fall relative to the size of the economy. This means that even with the larger cuts mentioned in the article the country would still be spending far more on the military than was envisioned before the September 11th attacks.  

Comments (4)Add Comment
Military Welfare is More Than Just Three Hots and a Cot
written by izzatzo, September 01, 2011 7:45
It would have been helpful to put these numbers in context for readers.

Exactly. If anyone understands the welfare to work program and the work to welfare program it's the Betraeus military.

Stupid liberals.
Welcome to the
written by Taylor, September 01, 2011 10:46
Cuts to the military ... ha ha ha
written by John Puma, September 01, 2011 2:16
Many insist we are a Christian country but I think our real religion is militarism.

An actual "Defense" Department could nicely defend with a third of what is now spent on our extended, distended, global, perpetual war machine.

We are history's greatest "mass murder for profit" society.
written by urban legend, September 01, 2011 5:02
Context? Democrats, at least the ones in Washington, don't do context. Then it might actually be persuasive and make it more difficult to be attacked by Fox. That would disturb the balance in the game they are playing that benefits insiders on both sides.

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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.