…the real size is not, as many news stories have reported, $515.4 billion—itself a staggering sum—but, rather, $713.1 billion.
Before deconstructing this budget, let us consider just how massive it is. Even the smaller figure of $515.4 billion—which does not include money for fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—is roughly equal to the total military budgets of all the rest of the world’s nations combined. It is (adjusting for inflation) larger than any U.S. military budget since World War II.
As always, this is stunning in its size and waste. And, as ever, with the exception of a few reporters it is not even discussed. And what have we gotten the last seven years — hell the last nearly 20 since the fall of the Soviet Union for this extravagance?
…but wait, now how much would you pay?
There is another way to probe this question. Look at the budget share distributed to each of the three branches of the armed services. The Army gets 33 percent, the Air Force gets 33 percent, and the Navy gets 34 percent.
As I have noted before (and, I’m sure, will again), the budget has been divvied up this way, plus or minus 2 percent, each and every year since the 1960s. Is it remotely conceivable that our national-security needs coincide so precisely—and so consistently over the span of nearly a half-century—with the bureaucratic imperatives of giving the Army, Air Force, and Navy an even share of the money? Again, the question answers itself. As the Army’s budget goes up to meet the demands of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Air Force’s and Navy’s budgets have to go up by roughly the same share, as well. It would be a miracle if this didn’t sire a lot of waste and extravagance.
I’m sure "Mr. Straight Talk" would be right on this, no?
Ike tried to warn us, but we didn’t listen.
(video from the excellent Documentary "Why We Fight")