There’s little doubt that one of the major problems our society must address is bloated federal spending. (Other blogs have focused on the tax problem.) The spending problem is usually focused on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Far less attention is given to national defense spending. Here’s a graph which places defense spending in historical context.
Viewed from a historical perspective defense spending has dramatically increased, according to Brad Plumer’s analysis.
“Since 2001, the base defense budget has soared from $287 billion to $530 billion — and that’s before accounting for the primary costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”
This information is important because the defense budget is larger than what the U.S. spends on Medicare. In addition, the U.S. spent more on defense than what the next 13 countries combined spent in 2011.
Should we have a strong national defense? Absolutely! Should our national defense spending be amenable to a more reasonable level of spending in the context of other strategic policy choices the nation needs to make? Absolutely!