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The Threat to National Security

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Washington, Apr 1 | comments
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Defense Spending Is Shrinking as a Share of the Federal Budget
  • In 1962,[1] defense spending was roughly 50 percent of the federal budget.

  • Today, defense spending is just 18 percent.

  • And on our current path, CBO estimates defense will eventually fall below 10 percent.

Non-Defense Spending Is Growing

  • Non-defense spending, on the other hand, now consumes 75 percent of every federal dollar.

  • And the bulk of that spending is now classified as “mandatory.”

  • Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have grown tremendously in recent years.

  • Meanwhile, interest payments on the national debt are set to consume a historically large share.

  • Years of trillion-dollar deficits and the return of interest rates to historical norms will raise costs.

  • CBO expects interest payments to nearly quadruple over the next ten years.

The House GOP Budget Will Protect Both Priorities

  • Non-defense discretionary spending today consumes a smaller share of the federal budget.

  • This trend holds under the House GOP budget, the President’s budget, and current law.

  • But that’s because most non-defense spending is now mandatory.

  • And growing interest payments are crowding out other priorities.

  • Under the House GOP budget, entitlement spending will continue growing at a more modest pace.

  • And getting a handle on the debt will lower interest costs.



[1] Fiscal year 1962 was the first in which the Office of Management and Budget distinguished between discretionary and mandatory spending in its data.


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