Monday, August 06, 2007

There have been a few unfounded and ignorant comments, demonstrating total ignorance of the American and world economies, saying the United States spends so much money going around starting wars and killing people and generally not minding its own business the way we used to before World War I, that we don't have any money left over to keep our bridges from falling down.

They're wrong.

If you do something easy like google "US budget 2006" and then look at the very first link provided, which is the White House's Office of Management and Budget's official budget report, you get this:

United States GDP 2006 $13.865 trillion
Of that:
Corporate pretax profits $1.324 trillion
Wages and salaries $6.109 trillion
Other income (presumably rent, interest, capital gains, etc.) $2.722 trillion

Federal government receipts 2006 $2.273 trillion
Outlays $2.613 trillion
Deficit -$341 trillion

Outlays by function 2006
Defense $513.9 billion
International affairs $38.9 billion
Science, space, and technology $24.0 billion
Energy $1.3 billion
Natural resources and environment $30.9 billion
Agriculture $28.6 billion
Commerce and housing credits $7.7 billion
Transportation $70.8 billion
Community and regional development $20.3 billion
Education, training, employment, and social services $89.0 billion
Health $268.0 billion
Medicare (health care for the retired) $351.3 billion
Income security (welfare) $358.8 billion
Social Security (pensions for the retired) $550.0 billion
Veterans' benefits and services $68.9 billion
Administration of justice $43.2 billion
General government $18.0 billion
Interest payments $204.4 billion
Total $2.613.3 trillion

That is, the US spends 19.6% of its federal budget, and 3.7% of its GDP, on defense.

Note also that a great deal of non-defense government spending on education, infrastructure, welfare, and the like is done at the state and local level and does not show up on the federal budget.

Some groovy politically correct bits of federal spending:

$3.2 billion, an increase of $382 million, to continue to expand the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
$4 billion, an increase of 8.5 percent, for Federal housing and social programs for the homeless, including $1.4 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants.
$1.2 billion for international food aid, including a new initiative to provide $300 million as cash assistance, allowing emergency food aid to be provided more quickly to address the most urgent needs.
$74 billion over 10 years for health-insurance tax credits for low-income individuals and families that will ultimately help 15 million families purchase affordable health insurance.
$5.6 billion for the National Science Foundation’s vital science, education, and basic research programs, an increase of $132 million.
$260 million for the President’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, to help reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil and create a new generation of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
$28 billion increase for student aid programs through 2015, including the retirement of the Pell Grant shortfall, an increase in the maximum Pell award by $500 over five years, and additional benefits to student borrowers, helping more than 10 million needy students cover the costs of college.
$603 million more for Title I to provide grants to improve education in low-income communities and support NCLB reforms, a total increase of $4.6 billion, or 52 percent, for Title I since 2001.
$3 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion, to expand the Millennium Challenge Account for foreign assistance, to encourage sound economic and governance policies in the developing world.

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