Income Tax: Where It Is Actually Spent–WAR

Now that Income Tax Season is over, I thought I’d post the War Resisters League Pie Chart of how our taxes are really spent:

Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes FY 2008

Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,387 billion
MILITARY: 51% and $1,228 billion
NON-MILITARY: 49% and $1,159 billion

FY2008 federal piechart


Current military” includes Dept. of Defense ($585 billion), the military portion from other departments ($122 billion), and an unbudgetted estimate of supplemental appropriations ($20 billion). “Past military” represents veterans’ benefits plus 80% of the interest on the debt.*

The Government Deception

The pie chart below is the government view of the budget. This is a distortion of how our income tax dollars are spent because it includes Trust Funds (e.g., Social Security), and the expenses of past military spending are not distinguished from nonmilitary spending. For a more accurate representation of how your Federal income tax dollar is really spent, see the large chart (top).

the government's deceptive pie chart

Source:Washington Post , Feb. 6, 2007,
from Office of Management and Budget

These figures are from an analysis of detailed tables in the “Analytical Perspectives” book of the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2008. The figures are federal funds, which do not include trust funds — such as Social Security — that are raised and spent separately from income taxes. What you pay (or don’t pay) by April 17, 2007, goes to the federal funds portion of the budget. The government practice of combining trust and federal funds began during the Vietnam War, thus making the human needs portion of the budget seem larger and the military portion smaller.

*Analysts differ on how much of the debt stems from the military; other groups estimate 50% to 60%. We use 80% because we believe if there had been no military spending most (if not all) of the national debt would have been eliminated. For further explanation, please see box at bottom of page.


Cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
(billions of dollars)

spending on war

U.S. Gov’t Accounting Office report, “Global War on Terrorism,” 7/18/06, (thru 2006); 2007 & 2008 numbers from current U.S. Budget; *Our FY2008 projected supplemental funding is based on estimates in the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments report by Steven Kosiak, 2/6/07,, and because of the Administration’s past underprojections

Current Military
$727 billion:

• Military Personnel $136 billion
• Operation & Maint. $249 billion
• Procurement $111 billion
• Research & Dev. $70 billion
• Construction $10 billion
• Family Housing $4 billion
• DoD misc. $6 billion
• Retired Pay $52 billion
• DoE nuclear weapons $17 billion
• NASA (50%) $9 billion
• International Security $10 billion
• Homeland Secur. (military) $31 billion
• Exec. Office of President $1 billion
• other military (non-DoD) $1 billion
• plus … anticipated supplemental war spending requests of $20 billion in addition to $141 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan wars already incorporated into figures above

Past Military,
$461 billion:

• Veterans’ Benefits $85 billion
• Interest on national debt $376 billion (80% est. to be created by military spending)

Human Resources
$748 billion:

• Health/Human Services
• Soc. Sec. Administration
• Education Dept.
• Food/Nutrition programs
• Housing & Urban Dev.
• Labor Dept.
• other human resources.

General Government
$295 billion:

• Interest on debt (20%)
• Treasury • Government personnel • Justice Dept.
• State Dept.
• Homeland Security (17%)
• International Affairs
• NASA (50%)
• Judicial
• Legislative
• other general govt.

Physical Resources
$116 billion
• Agriculture
• Interior
• Transportation
• Homeland Security (17%)
• Commerce
• Energy (non-military)
• Environmental Protection
• Nat. Science Fdtn.
• Army Corps Engineers
• Fed. Comm. Commission
• other physical resources

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