Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cutting The Deficit

Much has been made of the US Federal debt, which currently stands at over $10 trillion. While this number continues to increase as the government tries to spend its way out of a recession, the government will eventually have to reign in costs. Spending on healthcare and education can result in a more productive, and therefore richer, society. But the cuts will have to happen somewhere!

One of the largest components of the US budget is its military spend. Here's a chart depicting US military spend over the last three decades:

This year, US military spending is expected to come in at around $650 billion (note that this excludes spending by the Department of Homeland Security). This is larger than the entire 2008 US budget deficit, and is nine times larger than China's military expenditure.

But from the chart, we can see that US military spending is much higher than it has been in the recent past. If the US can wind down its wars, it can realistically return to an annual spend not much higher than $300 billion. These savings are not insignificant: over the next eight years, this would reduce outstanding debt by $2.4 trillion, which represents 25% of current debt outstanding. This is more than the fiscal stimulus checks issued last year and the funds allocated to the bank bailout combined! Getting along with the other cultures with whom we share this planet might not just be good for our health, but also our wallets!

This article was written by Saj Karsan of Barel Karsan. If you enjoyed this article, please vote for it by clicking the Buzz Up! button below.

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