Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Your Federal War Taxes Are Due

Dave Lindorff on the war tax:

If you're like me, now that we're in the week that federal income taxes are due, you are finally starting to collect your records and prepare for the ordeal. Either way, whether you are a procrastinator like me, or have already finished and know how much you have paid to the government, it is a good time to stop and consider how much of your money goes to pay for our bloated and largely useless and pointless military.

The budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which has to be voted by Congress by this Oct. 1, looks to be about $3 trillion, not counting the funds collected for Social Security (since the Vietnam War, the government has included the Social Security Trust Fund in the budget as a way to make the cost of America's imperial military adventures seem smaller in comparison to the total cost of government). Meanwhile, the military share of the budget works out to about $1.6 trillion.

More Than 53% of Your Tax Payment Goes to the Military


  1. The Police & Military are the biggest need of the state. If the State does not have it's coercive forces it will cease to exist.

    Is anyone shocked?

    Any opposition against statism must take a stance against this. The minarchist concept of "good government" being the part of the government we use coercive means to fund so we can shoot, kill and cage humans is complete bullshit and only stands to promote the presence and power of the state.

  2. Dear SE,

    I believe Mr. Lindorff has committed all of us a disservice. According to the CBO, defense spending is only 23% of total spending. Now, I don't exactly know how Mr. Lindorff got his number, but it seems to have been derived from some seriously manipulative accounting. My reading of his essay finds that he has dropped both Medicare and Social Security spending to get the highest possible number he could find. I could have made it even higher: just drop all the other portions of the budget except for the defense budget. If you do that, you discover that 100% of your tax payment goes to the military.

    Of course, the fudging is also in conflating your tax payment with government spending. The reality is that a huge portion of your tax payment actually does not go to spending on anything -- other than debt. Technically, there is no 1:1 correlation to your tax payment and government spending. It would be ideal if that was the case, but it isn't.


  3. I don't necessarily disagree, Bill, but even at 23% (if that is the correct figure) it's still too much. You also have to take into account that total military spending is more than just the official budget for "defense".

    As Bill Sardi has pointed out:

    1. Defense spending is presented as the Budget for the Defense Department and not for other branches of government involved in military spending (Dept. of State, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, NASA)
    2. The cost of current wars (Iraq) is off-budget and funds are acquired through special funding legislation.
    3. Military budget does not include interest on the debt for prior wars that were fought.
    4. Military spending is presented as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product so it appears as 3-4% of total spending instead of nearly half of the federal budget.
    5. Trust funds for Medicare and Social Security are included in the total federal budget to make defense spending look smaller.
    6. Defense spending is calculated as a percentage of federal outlays, not revenues. Federal outlays include money borrowed to fight wars. When calculated as a percentage of revenues only, not counting borrowed money, the percentage rises even higher.-The Many Ways Military Spending Is Minified.

    I just think "conservatives" have got to stop pretending they hate taxes so much and want smaller government, because they really love big government as long as tax money in the trillions is thrown away on military spending and foreign wars.

  4. Spending even a dime on the military is too much. We'd be better off simply shoveling half our money into a fire.


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