First, we see that our non-Iraq/Afghanistan defense spending totals about a half trillion dollars. Entitlements are costing us nearly 3 trillion, and they’ve nearly doubled since the turn of the century.
The second chart looks at defense spending as a percentage of GDP, where we see that overall spending is down nearly 50% since 1962. If you don’t include the Afghanistan and Iraq wars (the costs of which will soon be over), the decline is even greater.
So the next time someone tells you that the national debt or deficit requires us to drastically cut the military, remember these charts. The simple fact is that our defense spending is lower than it was during the Cold War (as a share of GDP), and is less than half as expensive as our entitlements, even when factoring in two large, multi-year occupations on the other side of the globe.
Our entitlement spending, meanwhile, continues to expand exponentially.