The “America’s foreign and defense policy costs taxpayers $1.2 trillion per year” lie

Some opponents of a strong defense, including libertarian liars such as Bruce Fein and Jack Hunter (both of whom work for libertarian loon Ron Paul), claim that US foreign policy costs US taxpayers $1.2 trillion per year, or that the US spends $1.2 trillion per year on defense. The so-called “Committee for the Republic” claims the US spends $1 trillion per year on defense. These are blatant lies. But how were these figures arrived at? How were they cooked up?

The answer was revealed in Bruce Fein’s anti-defense articles last year. These figures are complete fabrications invented by Fein. Firstly, he counts not just the DOD’s budget and the DOE’s total budget (not merely spending on defense-related programs), he also counts the budget of the DHS, the Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs, and the DOS as “defense spending” or “national security spending” (whichever term suits him more at a particular moment), and he also attributes the entire annual debt interest payments of the US government to the DOD, claiming that this debt – and the interest payments on it – are exclusively the results of the wars the US has waged. He ignores the fact that it is entitlement spending and runaway domestic discretionary spending, that has caused this debt, not military spending. Secondly, he invents nonexistant budget items such as “minor defense spending” in order to falsify the stats. And thirdly, for those agencies and items that do exist, he takes budget numbers from Presidential Budget Requests, even though these requests almost never become law, because the Congress always passes a budget that is different – and sometimes very different – from what the President originally requests. As an example, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 authorizes $26.6 bn less than what the President requested for defense and war spending, $644.4 bn instead of $671 bn.

Of course, that is not news and is not surprising to anyone who knows at least a little about the Constitution or about how the federal government works. The Congress often passes budgets (including defense budgets) that are different, and sometimes very different from what the President requested. In the 1980s and the early 1990s, the Congress repeatedly authorized much less defense spending than what Presidents Reagan and Bush requested. In the 1970s and the 1990s, Congress passed DOD budgets larger than what Presidents Carter and Clinton had requested, thus ensuring that these extremely leftist presidents would not get to cut defense as deeply as they had hoped to.

So any claim that the US is spending $1 trillion, $1.2 trillion, or any similar sum on defense, foreign policy, or “national-security-related agencies” is a blatant lie based on a fabrication cooked up by Bruce Fein, an utterly discredited libertarian liar.


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