Politics

White House Website Lying About Your Taxes

The White House has a handy website to mislead you about your tax dollars.

It claims that only 26.3 perent goes to “National Defense”. This is similar to the claim in the 1040EZ US income tax form booklet (see pages 36-37). Here are those two pages in a PDF. There the claim is that the U.S. government only spends 22 percent of its money on “National defense, veterans, and foreign affairs.” The form admits that you could leave out the “foreign affairs” part and still be at 21 percent.

The White House website claims to calculate both veterans’ expenses and foreign affairs separately and still put “defense” alone at 26.3 percent.

However, take a look now at the pie chart created by the War Resisters League, which shows 51 percent of the budget going to the military.

Twenty-one percent and 26.3 percent and 51 percent aren’t even close to each other.  This is not “good enough for government work.”  This is our money.  What gives?

Well, the White House website and the income tax form play a number of dirty tricks on us.  The income tax form lumps Social Security and Medicare into the budget even though they are not funded with income taxes and are not discretionary spending.  Take that money out, and the 1040EZ now tells us that the military makes up 32 percent of national public spending.  But the White House website claims to be dealing just with income tax when it puts military spending at a mere 26.3 percent.

The tax form says it’s using FY2009 numbers, while the White House says it’s dealing with FY 2010, as does the pie chart.  But the numbers haven’t changed THAT much.  The tax form and the pie chart are including veterans costs.  Adding those in on the White House website gets us to 30.4 percent.  That’s a little bit more honest a number, but still a long ways from 51 percent.

To review, the 2009 tax form puts military and veterans spending at 32 percent, the 2010 White House website at 30.4 percent, and the 2010 War Resisters chart at 51 percent.  Something still needs to be explained.

Part of the explanation is surely that a chunk of federal spending is payment of interest on debt, and most of that debt (80 percent according to the War Resisters League) is for past military expenses.  Both the tax form and the White House website lump all debt together as something separate from the military.  Applying the WRL calculation to the numbers on the White House website would bring its actual total military spending to 36.3 percent.  That’s a good bit more than the 26.3 percent any casual reader of the White House website will come away thinking goes to the military.  But it remains far short of 51 percent.

I can’t tell from the posted explanations, but very likely a couple of things are happening.  First, we spend a great deal on military operations through departments other than the “Department of Defense.”  The State Department hires mercenaries.  The Energy Department builds nukes.  There’s a whole new department called “Homeland Security.”  The CIA apparently has enough cash sloshing around that the President can secretly authorize it to arm a force in Libya sufficiently to take on another force we helped arm in Libya.  The bulk of our “foreign aid” consists of giving weapons (or cash with which to buy U.S. weapons) to countries we may one day fight wars against.  The War Resisters League seems to be trying to calculate all of these things.  The White House probably isn’t.

Second, even though the year 2010 has already happened, when its budget was originally laid out, it didn’t include a “supplemental” (off the books) spending bill for wars.  This is a nifty little gimmick the Obamabots inherited from the Bushies after having campaigned against it.  I would be less than shocked if the supplemental was still being left out of the White House numbers as if it had never happened.

In addition, there is a fundamental problem of honesty on the White House website and in the income tax booklet.  Both refer to the military as “defense,” while most of the expense has absolutely nothing to do with defense.  We build weapons for which no enemy exists.  We build bases halfway around the globe.  And the Justice Department justifies wars, such as the latest one in Libya, without even trying to claim there is anything defensive about it.

We are not spending 26 percent on defense.  We are spending 51 percent on the military.

David Swanson is the author of “War Is A Lie.

 

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5 Responses for “White House Website Lying About Your Taxes”

  1. PK says:

    When you act as Policeman of the world, public money collected by imposing taxtax on citizens of the country in the name of development , shall go to persons who are fighting on behalf of you. The government has to lie , as the shameless expenditure on Policing the world , is not even justifiable in their eyes.

  2. Coly Mirgs says:

    When roughly $3 Trillion dollars has gone to Isreal I guessPK is correct the govt. has to Lie! The truth is devastating.

  3. Awfully enlightening bless you, I’m sure your trusty audience might want even more writing such as this continue the excellent hard work.

  4. Very enlightening bless you, I do believe your subscribers might want a lot more blog posts of this nature keep up the great hard work.

  5. David Fetterman says:

    This article is complete mousecrap.
    The White House site lists defense spending at 26.3%. The War Resisters site lists “current military” spending at 28%. That seems close enough.
    But the War Resisters site lists “past military spending” at 23%. Even if we add the entire White House site’s percentages for debt financing to the veterans affairs payment, we only get about half that figure. So where does the rest of the 23% come from?
    According to this article, “I can’t tell from the posted explanations…but there is a fundamental problem of honesty on the White House website.”
    After a bit of theorizing as to where some of WR’s claimed military spending might have taken place, the article concludes: “We are not spending 26 percent on defense. We are spending 51 percent on the military.”
    The argument seems to be that although the War Resisters site doesn’t explain its figures any better than the White House, we should trust their figures because they don’t refer to military spending as defense and are therefore more “honest.”
    I’m a dove, but I’m not a fool, and I don’t buy unsupported arguments just because they happen to be aligned with my political preferences.

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