Monday, February 11, 2008

The IronTriangle: America's Defence Budget

Obscured by the great Obama-Hillary battle and the drama of Super Tuesday, the final budget of the Bush era was published last week. It covers the 2009 financial year, and contains one startling fact. If this President has his way, the US will next year be spending more on its military (adjusted for inflation) than at any time since the Second World War.

The raw figures are mind-boggling. The official Pentagon budget for 2009 runs to $515bn (£265bn), or around 4 per cent of America's total economy (the equivalent figure for Britain is 2.5 per cent), and about the same size as the entire output of the Netherlands. Throw in an expected $150bn of supplementary outlays and you've got defence spending larger than Australia's entire gross domestic product.

Even that may be an understatement. Add in various "black items", such as military spending tucked away in other parts of government, and some claim that America's total annual spending on the military now exceeds a trillion dollars – roughly half the entire British economy.more

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