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Defense Spending

March 12th, 2010 No comments

It’s tax season again. A good time to think about the ridiculous amount that we spend on defense. The following table is the annual spending on defense for the most recent year available, largely from WIkipedia’s page on defense spending and then dividing that by the population figure given by the national page on the Wikipedia. The numbers could come from different years so don’t worry about a few dollars here or there. The disparities are so great that it is very easy to see the contrasts.

Country Budget Population Spending/Person
US $667b 308m $2100
Israel $8.9b+2.38b (US Grants) 7.5m $1507 (1190+317)
UK $57b 62m $919
Germany $38b 81.76m $464
Japan $42b 127m $330
Russia $39.4b 142m $277
China $32b 1.3b $25

Unfortunately the high defense bills are not due to any threat or by those who care about the interests of others. Comparing the above figures with development aid is illuminating. I don’t mean defense grants, financing of exports and military crisis aid but the minuscule development aid amounts from the highest defense spender. Over half of overseas aid from the US for example is military aid to two countries.

I suggest we reduce defense spending to below $500 / person over the next five years. We simply can’t afford to starve the federal budgets with defense spending at the current levels when we need to develop a true national government. Between 1991 and 1997 Russia’s defense spending fell to an eighth of their 1991 levels in US dollars and has since risen to the $39.4b in 2009.

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