Nation

Federal War Spending Exceeds State Government Outlays

The U.S. spends more for war annually than all state governments combined spend for the health, education, welfare, and safety of 308 million Americans.

Joseph Henchman, director of state projects for the Tax Foundation of Washington, D.C. says the states collected a total of $781 billion in taxes in 2008.

For a rough comparison, according to Wikipedia data, the total budget for defense in fiscal year 2010 will be at least $880 billion and could possibly top $1 trillion. That’s more than all the state governments collect.

Henchman says all American local governments combined (cities, counties, etc.) collect about $500 billion in taxes. Add that to total state tax take and you get over $1.3 trillion. This means Uncle Sam’s Pentagon is sopping up nearly as much money as all state, county, city, and other governmental units spend to run the country.

If the Pentagon figure of $1 trillion is somewhat less than all other taxing authorities, keep in mind the FBI, the various intelligence agencies, the VA, the National Institutes of Health (biological warfare) are also spending on war-related activities.

A question that describes the above and answers itself is: In what area can the Federal government operate where states and cities cannot tread? The answer is: foreign affairs—raising armies, fighting wars, conducting diplomacy, etc. And so Uncle Sam keeps enlarging this area. His emphasis is not on diplomacy, either.

For every buck spent by the State Department, which gets some $50 billion a year, the Pentagon spends $20. As for the Peace Corps, its budget is a paltry $375 million—hardly enough to keep the Pentagon elephant in peanuts.

Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz and finance authority Linda Bilmes write in their “The Three Trillion Dollar War”(W.W. Norton), “defense spending has been growing as a percentage of discretionary funding (money that is not required to be spent on entitlements like Social Security), from 48 percent in 2000 to 51 percent today. That means that our defense needs are gobbling up a larger share of taxpayers’ money than ever before.”

And they add, “The Pentagon’s budget has increased by more than $600 billion, cumulatively, since we invaded Iraq.” With its 1,000 bases in the U.S. and another 800 bases globally, the U.S. truly has become a “Warfare State.” Today, military-related products account for about one-fourth of total U.S. GDP. This includes 10,000 nuclear weapons. Indeed, the U.S. has lavished $5.5 trillion just on nukes over the past 70 years.

No other nation has anything remotely like this menacing global presence. The Pentagon strengthens its grip by running joint “training” exercises with the military of 110 other nations, including outright dictatorships that suppress internal unrest.

The U.S. spends more on weaponry than the next dozen nations combined and is by far the No. 1 world arms peddler. “The government employs some 6,500 people just to coordinate and administer its arms sales program in conjunction with senior officials at American embassies around the world, who spend most of their ‘diplomatic’ careers working as arms salesmen,” writes Chalmers Johnson in “Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire(Henry Holt).”

Johnson goes on to say the U.S. military establishment today is “close to being beyond civilian control” and that despite its ability to “deliver death and destruction to any target on earth and expect little in the way of retaliation” it demands more and newer equipment “while the Pentagon now more or less sets its own agenda” and “monopolizes the formulation and conduct of American foreign policy.”

How long will it be before this tyrannical, anti-democratic, colossus that is sucking up as much money for war as all states, counties and cities spend on peace—and which straddles the globe, boosts dictators, and beats the war drums—turns on its own people?

Sherwood Ross formerly worked for The Chicago Daily News and other major dailies and as a columnist for wire services. He currently runs a public relations firm for “worthy causes.” You can reach him at sherwoodross10@gmail.com

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3 Responses for “Federal War Spending Exceeds State Government Outlays”

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  2. Nick says:

    How long will it be before this tyrannical, anti-democratic, colossus that is sucking up as much money for war as all states, counties and cities spend on peace—and which straddles the globe, boosts dictators, and beats the war drums—turns on its own people?

    I believe it has already done so:

    The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.
    The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface — and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine’s creators had CIA backgrounds.
    During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA’s expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America’s wealth. By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent — the highest level of inequality in the 20th century.
    How did this alliance start? The CIA has always recruited the nation’s elite: millionaire businessmen, Wall Street brokers, members of the national news media, and Ivy League scholars. During World War II, General “Wild Bill” Donovan became chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. Donovan recruited so exclusively from the nation’s rich and powerful that members eventually came to joke that “OSS” stood for “Oh, so social!”
    Another early elite was Allen Dulles, who served as Director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961. Dulles was a senior partner at the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Rockefeller empire and other mammoth trusts, corporations and cartels. He was also a board member of the J. Henry Schroeder Bank, with offices in Wall Street, London, Zurich and Hamburg. His financial interests across the world would become a conflict of interest when he became head of the CIA. Like Donavan, he would recruit exclusively from society’s elite.
    ….
    The instigators of MOCKINGBIRD were Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham was the husband of Katherine Graham, today’s publisher of the Washington Post. In fact, it was the Post’s ties to the CIA that allowed it to grow so quickly after the war, both in readership and influence. (8)
    MOCKINGBIRD was extraordinarily successful. In no time, the agency had recruited at least 25 media organizations to disseminate CIA propaganda. At least 400 journalists would eventually join the CIA payroll, according to the CIA’s testimony before a stunned Church Committee in 1975. (The committee felt the true number was considerably higher.) The names
    8 of 20 11/24/09 4:31 PM
    The Origins of the Overclass http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-overclass.html
    of those recruited reads like a Who’s Who of journalism:
    Philip and Katharine Graham (Publishers, Washington Post) William Paley (President, CBS) Henry Luce (Publisher, Time and Life magazine) Arthur Hays Sulzberger (Publisher, N.Y. Times)
    Jerry O’Leary (Washington Star) Hal Hendrix (Pulitzer Prize winner, Miami News) Barry Bingham Sr., (Louisville Courier-Journal) James Copley (Copley News Services) Joseph Harrison (Editor, Christian Science Monitor) C.D. Jackson (Fortune) Walter Pincus (Reporter, Washington Post) ABC NBC Associated Press United Press International Reuters Hearst Newspapers Scripps-Howard Newsweek magazine Mutual Broadcasting System Miami Herald Old Saturday Evening Post New York Herald-Tribune

    The Origins of the Overclass http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-overclass.html

    http://scribd.com/doc/23998815

    http://scribd.com/doc/23890551

    http://scribd.com/doc/23998812

    http://scribd.com/doc/23998816

    http://scribd.com/doc/23890389

    http://scribd.com/doc/23098198

    http://scribd.com/doc/23998818

    http://scribd.com/doc/23098845

  3. golem says:

    “the total budget for defense in fiscal year 2010” thats an euphemism or is there another budged for offense?

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