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Thread: The real US Defense Budget ... nearly double what is reported?

  1. #1
    Still king of lost New Romantic
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    The real US Defense Budget ... nearly double what is reported?

    From here, reported from none other than Winslow T. Wheeler from the Center for Defense Information. The numbers appear to bring into account a lot more than what the public is generally told about the defense budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Atlantic
    While everyone knows that the defense budget is large -- even in the numbers that the public sees as the formally admitted figures by the Department of Defense -- the truth is that when one scratches beneath the bureaucratic veneer, national security spending is much larger, nearly double the amount US citizens are told.

    A Republican, numbers-compulsive defense wonk at the Center for Defense Information, Winslow Wheeler, has published a great summary of what America's defense budget 'really' is.

    Wheeler offers a chart of the budget figures for both 2012 and 2013 -- starting with what is called the "DOD Base Budget (Discretionary)". He then adds line items from different accounts throughout other parts of the budget that really should be part of what is considered defense and security -- including the odd factoid that the Department of Defense and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issue different figures of what the DOD Base Budget really is -- with the Pentagon shorting what it gives the media by about $6 billion.


    This is pretty eye opening, but I'd wager not a peep will be brought up about it in this current political process, despite the fact the data is being presented right now, I'm assuming for that very reason.

  2. #2
    Social Worker Tin Wisdom's Avatar
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    I dunno. The chart itself is more than a little misleading in its design.

    First, you have no less than four sub-totals, which serves... little or no purpose that I can discern other than adding line-items to the chart to make it look longer and adding four very large numbers to the grid to maybe make people think it's larger than it is.

    Then, take a look at the actual line-items. I think that almost any line could withstand light scrutiny (some more than others), but taken in its entirety it seems a little "iffy".

    $19.4B for DoE (nuclear). Sure, much of what DoE does is related to warheads, but a massive chunk is related to civilian uses, even that which is solely nuclear-related. The former should be included on the chart (about $11B), but not the latter.

    $46.3B for Homeland Security. OK, I suppose that the Coast Guard is military in nature, but the TSA? They wear uniforms, I guess....

    $69.8B for International Affairs. So what the State Department does is military now? USAID too? That's probably news to the diplomats, even if they do have a lot of workers focused on Afghanistan and Iraq. Certainly part of their budget is related to providing protection for their workers, but it's quite a stretch to imply that it's part of the military-industrial complex somehow. Also, this number appears to be $10B high, even with the OCO added in.

    $137.7B for the VA. *Shrug* I get that you have to count the "tails" of wars into the total cost as well as the up-front costs, so this should probably remain. But it's not like any of that money is going towards killing people. Likewise the retirement costs -- this is money you are paying out based on someone working in a federal job for 20+ years. I can understand how it fits into the matrix, but it seems a little... peevish... to include it.

    $63.7B for payments on debt for the previous years' stuff. I agree this should be counted, though if you subtract any of the above line-items you need to lessen this by some amount too.

  3. #3
    New Romantic
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    Seems like standard government accounting to me.

  4. #4
    Social Worker
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    I remember this from a while ago

    It's really a shit-ton of money, hope you're getting what you want from it.

  5. #5
    Social Worker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janster View Post
    I remember this from a while ago

    It's really a shit-ton of money, hope you're getting what you want from it.
    The government sure does!

  6. #6
    Mad Chester
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    You'll need every penny if the Red Army ever comes through the Fulda Gap. At least, that's what I learned playing Red Lightning.

  7. #7
    Mad Chester
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    Gotta' get them drones to spy on the peoples somehow.

  8. #8
    Social Worker
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    The people's drones?

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