Have you ever wondered just how much of your hard-earned tax dollars go to funding our bloated war machine? On today’s episode of “The MintCast,” Lindsay Koshgarian lays out the staggering expense that American taxpayers fork out each year to keep the U.S. empire going.
“The average person is paying over $2300 per year for our military, plus another $700 for veterans’ [benefits]. So that’s over $3000. To put that in some other perspective, that’s more than twice what the median rent is for a two-bedroom apartment is in this country… It’s a really significant expense for individual taxpayers,” she told “Mintcast” co-host Alan MacLeod.
Lindsay Koshgarian is the Program Director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C. Originally a clinic worker and organizer at Planned Parenthood, her work and commentary have been featured in “NPR,” the “BBC,” “CNN” and “The Nation,” among others.
Not only does the United States spend vastly more than any other country in the world on its military, the federal budget continues to become increasingly militarized. For the financial year 2023, $1.1 trillion of the $1.8 trillion total went to purchasing weapons or on militarizing the police or prison systems.
If you include veterans’ benefits, then the government spends more on war than anything else, even healthcare. More than $1000 of the average American’s taxes go to Pentagon contractors – four times as much as is spent on K-12 education.
Koshgarian’s report, “Tax Day 2023: Where Your 2022 Tax Dollars Went,” even notes that weapons giant Lockheed Martin received $106 per American taxpayer this year. This is compared to just $11 on anti-homeless projects or around $6 to develop renewable energy.
The National Priorities Project aims to highlight the extreme disparity with which we fund our war machine and how excessive militarism is draining funds from urgently needed areas. As Koshgarian noted:
This summer, we are seeing floods, wildfires, wildfire smoke and more. Most people in the United States have been affected by one of these things, and we are seeing that we are just not putting the money into solving the climate crisis. But we are putting the money into military contractors. And, to be clear, that money is not for our security. That money is largely unnecessary.”
Thus, while the U.S. always seems to be able to find money for war, its infrastructure is crumbling, welfare programs continue to be gutted, and working-class Americans’ quality of life continues to stagnate.
The National Priorities Project has proposed a modest spending cut to the military, bringing the budget down to 2018 levels. With that $100 billion saving, they calculate that the U.S. could:
• Provide free tuition for 2 out of 3 public college students in the U.S.
• Send every household in the U.S. a $700 check to help offset the effects of inflation
• Hire 890,000 Registered Nurses to address shortages
• Cover medical care for 7 million veterans, or:
• Triple current enrollment in Head Start, from 1 million children and families to 3 million.
Listen or watch the exclusive interview on “MintPress News.”
MintPress has launched its annual funding drive. Faced with algorithmic censorship, arrests, financial sanctions and more, it is crucial that our readers and viewers support us. If you are in a financial position to do so, please consider supporting our work. We can only do it with you and can’t do it without you.
MintPress News is a fiercely independent media company. You can support us by becoming a member on Patreon, bookmarking and whitelisting us, and subscribing to our social media channels, including Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.
Also, be sure to check out rapper Lowkey’s video interview/podcast series, The Watchdog.
Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.org, The Guardian, Salon, The Grayzone, Jacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.