Per year, the Pentagon budget is more expensive than the reconciliation bill

Speaking Security Newsletter | Advisory Note for Organizers and Candidates, n°118 | 29 September 2021

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Media outlets keep saying the reconciliation bill costs $3.5 trillion. That’s not necessarily wrong, but it’s actually $350 billion if we’re talking about its cost in the same way we talk about the military budget, which is authorized/appropriated on a per year basis. And this excludes the reconciliation bill’s offsets (which makes it cost even less, in terms of net government expenditures).

Same deal with the $1 trillion+ infrastructure bill—although reporting that number commits the double sin of funding being spread out over 5 years and that figure including funding that was going to be spent anyways (reauthorized funding). The total amount of ‘new’ spending is actually $550 billion, or $110 billion per year (on average) if we’re going to go ahead and compare it to Pentagon spending.

Comparing per year cost of reconciliation, infrastructure bills to Pentagon spending in FY2022

Even when combined, these two bills are still less expensive per year than the Pentagon budget is. It’s not particularly close, either.

Hope this clarifies some things. 

Thanks for your time,

Stephen (@stephensemler;

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