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US Federal Budget April 12, 2007

Posted by Jordi in Business-Society Issues, Government.

Tax Season gto me thinking about the US federal budget.

Here is a helpful pie chart.

PIe chart of federal budget from CBP

Is this what you expected? How many politicians put this front and center and explain what they would keep and what they would change?



1. wilson7 - May 2, 2007

No this not how I thought the pie chart would be. I thought that security and defense would take up a larger portion of the pie chart, also I thought that education would be up there not just placed with everything else. I would think that the government would want to spend more on education so that we continue to be the most powerful country in the world. There are very few politicians that would place this pie chart in front of people to tell them what they would like to do with our country I know our current regime would not.

2. silviamocanu07 - May 3, 2007

This chart certainly changed my view a little about the US government. I expected a larger percentage to be allocated to defense, and I am surprised it is not (not that that would be desirable), especially given the fact that politicians always stress the importanc eof allocating a lot of money to this sector.

3. Jordi - May 3, 2007

Ok, 21% is HUGE for military spending. In FY 2005 it was $420 BILLION dollars. This was about 40% of all military spending by ALL nations. China and Russia combined spent $120 billion.

The US spends the same amount as the next 18 countries combined.


4. Scott A. Weir - September 3, 2007

This chart from OMB is intentionally misleading. First we have the “Integrated Federal Budget,” LBJ’s coup to conceal the true cost of the Viet Nam War. Prior to the mid-60s, Social Security was not included in the federal budget because it is completely paid for by a dedicated tax completely separate from the federal income tax from which all other items in the budget are paid EXCEPT Medicare. Medicare, instituted about the same time, is ALSO paid for by a separate, dedicated tax. When these wobbly but still self-supporting items are removed, the shares for “Defense and Security” and “Everything Else” jump to a little over 30% each.

Medicaid is also mandated by law (“entitlement”), as is SCHIP (virtually unknown until this summer and miniscule by comparison), and these four items together make up “non-discretionary spending,” expenditures over which Congress has no year-to-year control unless it changes the law, all but Medicaid and the tiny SCHIP supported by dedicated taxes.

If these items making up 40% of the budget as portrayed are removed, “Defense and Security” and “Everything Else” then become 35% each, and “Safety Net Programs” become 15%, with each of the latter two crying out to be further broken down.

bobd - September 16, 2009

why not take out all the other things that are supported by fees like national parks then take out the other since most of that is to help the children.
Continue to take out the items you like and then you end up with 80 percent for the military.
you also seem to not know that a very large portion of the military spending is for education. not just how to kill but real transferable education. take that cost out and leave in all the things you took out and the military cost is more like 10 percent.

5. jay - February 19, 2008
6. Paul Revere - March 9, 2008

How much of that military budget is for salaries, health insurance and pensions?

bobd - September 17, 2009

Don’t forget the amount for training that actually is used after getting out like computers, electronics, mechanics, cooking to name just a few.
Also the amount spent on R&D that benefits civilian life also.
with all you mentioned and this the military is more like a good investment.
Hey included in the budget amount is retirement too.

7. Steve - March 11, 2008

Education doesn’t make a big impact, because it is mostly handled at the state and local level.

I wish defense was a higher percentage… not because I want them to spend more on it, but rather nothing on anything else. Give me police. Give me national defense. Leave me alone.

8. John - March 29, 2008

military pay and benefits makes our budget seem big because we pay our military quite well compared to China because they have 15 million men in uniform compared to our 2 million. what are the number of tanks, planes, ships, etc is the true test of a budget allocation but only if you feel we need to keep up our defense

9. Zard - April 1, 2008

On the point of Social-Sec/Med on the chart:

If they are not on the chart, the government could not rob the future by spending current tax on SS/Med. They are using part of Med/SS money to pay for things other than SS/Med but the obligation still carries into the future.

10. Jordi - April 3, 2008

Yes. That is a problem. But Medicaid (or care?) I hear is in much greater financial distress.

11. Repub - April 20, 2008

This pie chart is incorrect. Defense eats up over 40% of the budget. (Debt included.)

bobd - September 17, 2009


12. Joseph - September 24, 2008

The Chart is a Lie. It buries old war bills into going forward ‘budgets’. see http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

bobd - September 17, 2009

Following your logic – the War on Poverty has buried old poverty bills into going forward “budgets”.
Lets not ignore the damage that “war” has done either.

13. Dean - February 26, 2009

The chart is misleading because it includes supposedly self-funding programs (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) in the chart. These theoretically should be in a separate chart, because the taxes taken out are not supposed to be used for other purposes.

The true picture of where your income taxes go (as well as corporate taxes, import duties, etc.) would be to include only those expenses that are not self-funding.

In that case, the piece of the pie for military spending would increase dramatically. Also note that military pensions and care for disabled vets is split out of Dept of Defense to make it look like less is spent on military than actually is spent.

bobd - September 17, 2009

So waht you want is to spend nothing on the military and spread that amount around to social programs?

14. Chris - June 27, 2009

Dean, that is because not all veteran’s are paid or receive a pension. The number that retire from the military is far from the total number that serve.

But what is included is the cost to care for not only members of the service, but their families and dependents, which is are large chunk of change.

As for the so called “Self Funded” programs, it is correct for them to added, because politicians have recently taking from these areas to fund other things. Also…nothing in the government is “Self Funded”…To say something is self funded, at least to me would mean the program actually earns it own money. Those programs still take money from individuals and corporations.

15. Anthony O'Neal - August 30, 2009

But Chris, it could certainly be argued that SS and Medicare aren’t really “government spending” in the normal sense, because most Americans can reasonably expect to get their money back from the programs. They are more mandatory insurance programs.

Defense spending, on the other hand, is essentially an economic black hole. A military is necessary for protecting us, but lots of military spending does hurt the economy, whereas mandatory insurance doesn’t.

16. bobd - September 17, 2009

if a company tried to say that a budget item was “self funded” it would be destroyed by the IRS.
The whole federal budget is self funded by fees, taxes or mandated payments and all are spent via check or electronic transfer by one single place – Washington DC.

17. Miranda Brechbiel - October 19, 2010

A fine read (Your headline, ‘US Federal Budget The Way Things Work: Organizations’ made me giggle) and some quite interesting points made. The fact that merely a modest percentage of people will likely be affected to my mind doesn’t cause the measures used here.

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