• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Chart of the Week: Federal Spending on Defense vs. Entitlements

    Providing for the defense of the United States is Congress’ constitutional obligation. Lawmakers should recognize defense is a necessity, if not the federal government’s most important responsibility.

    In recent years, however, defense spending has continued to decline as entitlement spending increased. Priorities are being misplaced as the gap between entitlement spending and defense spending continues to widen.

    This chart is part of Heritage’s 2011 Budget Chart Book, featuring infographics on federal spending, revenue, debt and deficits, and entitlement programs.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to Chart of the Week: Federal Spending on Defense vs. Entitlements

    1. ExpatHawk says:

      Why would Obama worry about defense spending when he KNOWS that the money is toyally wasted. Obama is still supremely confident that he can talk any prospective enemies out of their agression, as long as he has time to set up the teleprompters.

    2. Jeff, Illinois says:

      Why compare military vs. entitlement spending. It's clear the GOP feels justified that the Military is far more important. In reality that's an open debate . . and perhaps in fact, taking care of the home front as a priority might ulitmately prove more beneficial for our nation.

      • Dave, Seattle says:

        Without a strong defense the home front will soon belong to some dictator.

        • Jeff, Illinois says:

          The point was how much defense is overkill . . I think we're way past any reasonable amount of spending . . It's not black or white . . !

      • West Texan says:

        May I suggest Federalist commentary # 45 by James Madison to help you correctly prioritize.

    3. Will says:

      Of course it's declined. The chart starts in the middle of the Vietnam War. By the way, I'm wondering if bankrupting our country to spend on defense like Bush and Reagan did is also a core constitutional function.

      • hank says:

        Yes, because providing Welfare, Food Stamps, Public Housing Assistance, Corn Subsidies for Global Warming and paying for Public Sector Unions is far more important than ensuring that the United States is a continuing nation and not taken over or marginalized by Russia, China, Islam, or other enemies – foreign and domestic (like the libera, er – progressiv, er – Democrats).

      • Dialla says:

        You know the chart is a Percentage of GDP, it is still lower and makes your statement all the more shocking.

    4. Jim Arrington says:

      Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare should not be labeled as entitlements since workers pay into them all of their working lives. They are, so to speak, paid for benefits paid for by their payroll contributions. Entitlements are a free give away that no one has earned or deserved.

      • Dan.net says:

        When Republicans talk of entitlements they never show the revenue side. Net the FICA, Medicare takes employees and employers pay. Then chart the net.
        A half truth is a whole lie.

      • Ronchris says:

        Sorry Mr. Arrington, but Medicaid is not paid into, it is a pure giveaway. Medicare is what FICA taxes go in to, and most people, by the time they die, have consumed hundreds of times as much money as they put in — same for Social Security.

      • Bobbie says:

        I differ with you, Jim. "Entitlements" are "earned" and those that paid in are the only entitled. The word has been falsely implemented by government manipulation of the system. Government corrupted these areas (ss, medicaid and medicare) off the backs of tax payers, by creating qualifications that didn't require the same to those that didn't pay, as those paying for them. Government created exceptions behind the backs of those unknown paying in. There's lots of corruption that needs to be cleaned and in the name of sacrifice, no one is sacrificing things taken away they didn't pay for. The elderly have been sacrificing since before the governments known fraud! The elderly, not even knowing. Been going on for at least 15 years! I can attest!!!!

    5. In the first place SS, Medicare, and Medicaid or NOT entitlements! These are monies that people paid for with hard working money. They were supposed to be voluntary, but now are mandatory. It has now been given to people who did not contribute to the fund. Entitlements are monies dispensed without having paid for them such as welfare, subsidies, etc. Instead of telling the truth you are joining the forces of rewriting liberal policies and promoting a redistribution of wealth of which I oppose.

      • Marsh says:

        Medicaid is based on need and is a form of welfare. SS has been paid for in part, but many take out far more than they put in. Medicare has not been paid for for most recipients. While I am sympathetic for recipients of these benefits, for people not yet reliant on the system, these benefits must be reined in or they will disappear. Defense spending needs to be cleaned up, but it is essential for our preservation as a country.

      • West Texan says:

        You're wrong. Those who see Social Security (SS) and Medicare as an investment bought into the social progressives' lie. Where's the interest earned? Where's the fiscal growth? Where's the estate? These programs are funded by mandatory social taxes thrown into one big government pot. It's no longer your money but rather redistributed out as a government entitlement.

        Medicaid is general matching state and federal tax dollars. You're correct in saying it's not an entitlement. It's states' welfare assistance.

      • Ronchris says:

        Sorr Mr. Daniel, but you're incorrect. People have paid into SS and Medicare, but receive payouts of from 80-100X as much as they deposited.

        If you only got out what you put in, your account "balance" would be back to zero within a few years of commencing your withdrawals.

    6. DISGUSTED TAXPAYER says:

      ENTITLEMENTS NEED TO BE REDUCED TO MATCH FED INCOME, and cut people who use welfare more than 4 years in their lifetime.

    7. spardog says:

      The red line might head down if we weren't paying so much for illegal immigrants – both parties keep pushing that ignorant missive in the hopes of gaining the votes when we give illegals the right to vote as well, oh wait, we've already done that!

    8. Considering Social Security and Medicare are both separate from the Federal Budget (other than what Congress steals from it, of course), what does this have to do with Defense Spending and the fact that the pentagon loose billions of tax dollars each year?

    9. me2 says:

      Most people point at illegals as the problem or a significant part, but most not all, pay taxes on someone else's SSN, get no benefit and pay full price for healthcare on time, if not early.
      My guess illegals are a blessing not a curse, it would be in their interest to have a legal way to work, at least they could get some benefit rather than giving the Fed more money to waste.

      • Dialla says:

        -You realize that illegals show up at Emergency Rooms and by law can't be refused medical care?
        -You realize that there are countless "migrant" health clinics across the country funded by Federal, State, and Local dollars?
        -You realize that Obamacare included specifically targeted to these "migrant" health clinics?
        -You realize that most illegals due to their low wages actually get Earned Income Tax Credit when they file their taxes (results in all taxes paid being return and they receive cash on top of this in excess of any taxes paid)?
        -You realize, that most illegals don't know if they even want to stay in the United States long term? Most ultimately believe they will end back up in their country of origin in retirement living on what they earned and any benefits they can collect, This includes Social Security if they are granted Amnesty? Do you know how far a Social Security Check goes in Panama, Cambodia, etc?

      • Bobbie says:

        A blessing? They don't have legitimate social security numbers. Burden. The government (with American tax dollars and solely for government gain) devised a whole new way for tax implementation regarding immigrants. Legal and not. Burden. Whatever they pay in they get back MORE in deductions (unfair, provocation to resentment.) Burden. So technically the outcome is immigrants are more costly, burdensome to the people of this country and government of this country then the people ever expected or were informed they would be. Dishonest, deceiving, disingenuous, exploitive! Burden! There are more tax dollars going into supplementing personal/parental responsibilities then tax dollars going to people as a whole, as tax dollars should! If people were held accountable to their own acts, one being of procreating, there wouldn't be an overpopulation crisis because people who are responsible, make WISER decisions!

    10. jdb says:

      There are many factors but it looks like entitletment spending increased most under republican presidents.

    11. this article downplays the cost of defense and it is totally wrong. it does not take into account the amount of money spent on military contracts. visit http://www.militaryindustrialcomplex.com to see the real amount.

    12. Dinah L says:

      The most interesting point that I am seeing about this issue in these comments is that most people don't really understand exactly how Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are paid. I don't mean that as an insult. The people who read this blog are more educated about the facts than most. But even we don't understand any more how all of this is supposed to work. The whole Social Security idea was a large Ponzi scheme. It could only work as long as more people were paying in than needed to be paid. Then too, the money collected should have been invested rather than spent in the general fund. Medicare is paid while we work, but we use much more than we even pay in. You know how well that works with your home budget. Medicaid, I have no idea. That's kind of my point. I am quite interested, I read online and books, I listen to TV and radio and I still couldn't tell you exactly how it's supposed to work and where it goes wrong. I do know it's a matter of more money out than money in, but how do we fix that?

    13. 1goodbob says:

      The number one job of the Gov. is to protect the country. Obama, thinks if we stand back and don't act so threatening, they will live Peacefully together. Being a Muslim, he should know better. NOI live & dies to fight and conquer. That's all they know.

    14. Pingback: LL1885′s Year In Review: October | Lady Liberty 1885

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×