There are many of ways to look at federal spending in the United States, and there is no one "right" way. One is to look at Congress' choices in divvying up the "discretionary" dollars over which they have say (this is the 57% we illustrate in our chart). Another is to look at how each tax dollar is divided. This approach includes "mandatory" spending determined by formulas, in addition to the discretionary items. A third approach is to look at the entire federal balance sheet. This method includes categories like Social Security and Medicare, which are not funded from income tax revenues but from separate designated taxes.
We have based our numbers on those from the National Priorities Project, a frequent partner with AFSC. We believe their analysis is sound. But we encourage everyone to learn as much as possible about the US budget. See references for our materials below. We encourage you to check those references and to form your own opinion.
Where did $1.2 million come from?
Using figures from the National Priorities Project, AFSC estimates that the United States spends $1.2 million on the military budget. In past years, we added in an estimated figure for the amount of war debt, but this year we are only considering active military spending.
See the National Priorities Project for more information about proposed spending.
Why do groups like FCNL and National Priorities Project have different numbers?
Budget reports vary because the U.S. budget is incredibly complicated. There are many ways to look at the budget, all of which help you understand a part of the picture. The National Priorities Project, FCNL, and the War Resisters League look at the budget slightly differently so they get different estimates but they still tell a similar story: military spending is out of control.