Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Percentages are similiar in this from K


The National Debt

Interest on the debt claims about 10 percent of the budget. When President Bush took office, the national debt was $5.6 trillion, but deficits have pushed that number closer to $9 trillion today.

Where's the red ink coming from? Depends on who you ask: Democrats blame Bush's tax cuts and wasted defense spending. Republicans say that's not so, claiming that Bush's tax cuts boosted the economy and increased revenue. They blame increased deficits on wasteful social programs and spending necessary to fight the war on terrorism.

The Military's Slice of the Pie

The military gets the biggest piece of what's left -- the 30 percent of the budget called discretionary spending because it's the part of the budget that Congress and the White House can control from year to year.

About two-thirds of this spending (20 percent of the total budget) pays for the tanks, jets, ships, missiles, rifles and other paraphernalia of defense, not to mention the salaries of our country's soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. In the next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1, this will amount to nearly $600 billion, possibly more if costs in Iraq and Afghanistan climb higher than expected.

Some big-ticket Defense Department projects, such as purchase of new combat fighter jets, Navy shipbuilding and space weapons research, may be trimmed in light of the war costs. But that would barely dent the Pentagon's share of the overall budget, especially with more funds sure to be added to support medical and other needs of Iraq war veterans.

You might think a fifth of the federal government's total spending is a lot to put into defense. But in comparison to some earlier periods in our country's history, it's actually a smaller share. During President Ronald Reagan's defense buildup, the military claimed 26 percent of the budget. And at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968, 46 cents of every tax dollar Americans paid was for defense.

Of the remaining discretionary spending, the Department of Homeland Security claims about 1.5 percent of the budget, or $43 billion. Foreign aid spending, though it raises the ire of many taxpayers, accounts for just half of one percent and is likely to be reduced by Congress even further.

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