The recently passed financial bailout package has drawn the ire of citizens throughout the United States. Both conservatives and liberals have condemned Congress and the White House for rescuing Wall Street titans, who caused the economic death spiral in the first place, by transferring an enormous fiscal burden to middle- and working-class taxpayers. At a time when people are losing their homes and struggling to make ends meet, many Americans find the bailout’s $700 billion price tag to be simply outrageous.
What many Americans may not realize is that the United States is likely to spend $711 billion on national defense in the fiscal year that began on October 1, 2008 (assuming fiscal year 2009 war costs are $170 billion, an estimate provided by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates). You read that correctly: the United States will spend more on defense over the next 365 days than on the $700 bailout package.
This graph compares estimated U.S. defense spending in fiscal year (FY) 2009 to the bailout, previous U.S. conflicts, and other federal spending priorities. Click on it to see the full-size version.