Warfare State Sending US Off ‘Fiscal Cliff’

This year's budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion for the fourth straight year

The US budget deficit grew by nearly $60 billion in June, and is on track to exceed $1 trillion for the fourth straight year. By the end of this fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, the full budget deficit will total $1.17 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The world’s biggest employers. Source: The Economist

Congress and the Obama administration spend too much in every dimension, but paying for the warfare state makes up an enormous chunk of these massive deficits.

The financial cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone account for more than $4 trillion. The Pentagon estimated in February of last year that the war in Afghanistan costs $300 million every day. That’s more than the average American earns in his lifetime, for a war that was fought for political repute and which is collectively recognized as an utter failure.

More than a quarter of what Washington spends money on every year is spent on the warfare state. That’s about 65% of all discretionary spending.

“The United States spent $728 billion on its military in 2010,” according to the Mercatus Center, “about 45% of the world’s $1.6 trillion total. US spending amounts to more than the next fourteen largest military spending countries combined. In fact, the US spends nearly 6 times more than the next largest military spender, China.”

More inclusive estimates on national security spending find that the true dollar amount the US spends every fiscal year exceeds $1 trillion.

The American economy is worse than its been in a long time. The International Monetary Fund recently warned that if Congress doesn’t do something to avert the “fiscal cliff,” it could send the economy into another steep recession.

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.