The US Budget, Deficits, and the Military

The 2014 Federal Budget was ~$3.0T (that is Trillion dollars).  Keep in mind this is a budget and not what is actually spent and that the 2014 fiscal year ends September 30, 2014. Actual expenditures for 2014 were ~$3.5T for a deficit of ~$0.5T bringing the total deficit to $17.8T, $7T of which has been accumulated in the past 7 years.  At $17.8T, the national debt is approximately equal to total of all of the goods and services produced in the US in 2014 since the Gross Domestic Product or GDP was $17.7T.  The Federal budget for 2014 was ~18% of all of the goods and services produced in the US.

Now let’s see how all that money is spent but first we need to define a couple of terms.

  • Mandatory Budget Items – Items that are established by previous laws e.g. Social Security and increase/decreases are set by those previous laws.  While they are considered mandatory today, laws can be changed
  • Discretionary Expenditures – These are budget items that are voted on by Congress
  • Interest of the debt.

Below is the budget information for 2015.   I apologize for the somewhat fuzzy graphics as I could not find better better that were from the Office of Budget Management or OBM.  As you can readily see from the charts below the vast majority of spending is on social programs with defense (the military) taking 16% of the budget, all of which is considered discretionary spending.

2015 presidents-proposed-total-spending