Visualizing America's Shocking Defense Spending

Tyler Durden's picture

Wouldn’t it be a strange world to live in if 50% of military spending was paid for by just 5% of the population? Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.


Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist


Every year, the United States government spends the equivalent of $3,300 for each working citizen on its military budget. In aggregate, this grand total of $610 billion in defense spending amounts to about half of the dollars globally spent on the military.

With $216 billion spent per year, China has the next largest budget by far. But, to get to a number even close to U.S. spending, the military budgets of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, Japan, United Kingdom, and France would have to be added together.

From another perspective, the amount of annual defense spending per working person in the U.S. is higher than the income per capita of 70 countries, including places such as Morocco, Nigeria, Nicaragua, India, and Ukraine.

This means that if somehow the people of Nicaragua were taxed 100% with all money going to defense, it would only amount to a budget 1.8% of the size of America’s.

Source: Visual Capitalist

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Baby Bladeface's picture
Baby Bladeface (not verified) Feb 16, 2016 11:03 PM

Except that other nations pay for US defence spending when they buy US Treasurys.

Those who buys U.S. bonds is the pest of the world.

markmotive's picture

Fiscal profligacy to support monetary insanity.

Or is it the other way around?


Kyle Bass explains

Minions's picture
Minions (not verified) markmotive Feb 16, 2016 11:13 PM

I thought America was a Christian nation? What's with all this spending to kill people? What was it again about Jesus and the Sword? << >>

joego1's picture

Obama is a Muslim, they have diffferent rules about that stuff.

cheka's picture

the joys of frbny and their magic money dilution machine

instead of dilution, tax people directly and watch that bubble shrink to a fraction of its size


article is flat-out wrong about 5 percent of people paying for it.  it's actually paid for by whole world - debasing frn, the one world currency

Harlequin001's picture

The only way to look at this is as a transfer of wealth from the citizenry to the wealthy.

What you can't screw from them today in taxes you load up on their children tomorrow.

And it's by far the worst in the "Land  of the Free"

NidStyles's picture

The vast majority of that military spending is outside of the US. Defense for Europe, most of Asia and now the middle-east it seems.



Manthong's picture

>>>  +1200 US installations in over 120 countries ???

What part of failing empire does the DC elite not understand ?

Well, we do and when the time comes we are prepared.

CuttingEdge's picture

"Wouldn’t it be a strange world to live in if 50% of military spending was paid for by just 5% of the population?"

Who said anything about paying for it?

$18 trillion and counting...

Took Red Pill's picture

and where does that money go? To companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumann, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamice, Pratt & Whitney, GE, United Technologies, etc. So who really runs the US (and the world for that matter)?

Proctologist's picture

America has Never has been a theocracy, never will be (unless we start counting secular humanism as a religion).

The problem is twofold:

1. It's not about defense. They never really should have changed the old name "war dept".
2. Greed, which really is the oldest American virtue. We're masters of coveting our neighbors belongings in Amerika, as far as I can tell. It appears to be the dominant trait we inherited from our generally European forefathers.

Right now the two prominent candidates (Sanders and Trump) put no. 2 on display "full frontal". Sanders displays the greed of the so-called poor who want to use .gov to force the rich to share. As for Trump, his greed should be self explanatory. The narcissist in Trump really brings it out.

I'd still take either of them over Hitlery.

El Dorado's picture

I value your input however I'd rather take neither. I'm not ignorant to the fact that more then likely one of them will become president. Simply put, I no longer believe in the "voting for the better of two evils" narrative. By no mean am I endorsing someone like Gary Johnson either, but even if a vote for an alternative party or no vote at all is some how associated with a vote for the liberals, well frankly I don't give two shits. That's because, a vote for Trump or Sanders will still lead us to the same place Hitlery is going.

The problem is that we even have a presidential race that matters let alone a two party system. I hear nothing from any canediates that talks about reducing the federal government to a pre Lincoln size. That means NO Medicare/Medicade, OBAMA(F'*#ing)care, SS and esspecially NO standing army! Although after all the enemy's we've made since Korea I some what understand the importance of a standing army. We need a president with insignificant powers like the Swiss President. If you frequent ZH or follow a reasonable amount of current events then you Know the PM of Canada, France and GB or the Chancelor of Germany, and especially the president of Russia or China. Does anyone know th name of the president of Switzerland?

By the way, I love my troops but unfortunately the majority of Americans don't even understand what the message of organizations like the American legion and VFW are. It has as much to do with supporting current vetrans as it as to do with STOPPING THE CREATION OF MORE VETRANS!!! That means, end the wars, all wars that aren't defending our own soil!

Transformer's picture

Are you kidding?  Trump spoke truth to power.  He said Bush lied and got us into a bogus war and he knew it, and he knew about 911 ahead of time.

He is running for President and Trump said this to a prominent member of the Bush Crime Family, in a Bush loving state, on national TV with millions watching.  And people get it.

All the things you said about Trump are true, but that changes everything.  He blusters a lot, but speaks truth to power.  The Dems hate him, the Repubs hate him.  Even the NeoCons hate him.  What more do you need to know?

Manthong's picture

"We're masters of coveting our neighbors"

I am ashamed to admit that I have done that to a number of wives in my youth.

...but I was young and ignorant.

El Dorado's picture

If Trump said he wanted to abolish the Fedral Reserve, I would be sold. Anything less then that means nothing will change.

CuttingEdge's picture

The USA has always been about the sheep and the wolves, ever since its inception.

All the struggles between the venal and powerful barons and the little guy back in the day as the nation was growing and expanding are well documented.

Same old piss today, just a different coloured bottle.



11b40's picture

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Your suggested alternative is not available. Now what?

blackbeardz's picture

.and JFK SAID he wanted to abolish some cia clan, AND  THE FED.

new game's picture

3 words- end the fed

i am waiting for that candidate...

bunnyswanson's picture

" Original Sin - Lying buried in the subconscious of Western mankind is a cistern of inherited guilt from which we drink daily, and which--for better or worse--we replenish with our regrets, our real or imagined shortcomings, our disappointments, our lost opportunities, but most of all our dreams.

"It is a cistern filled not with rainwater from the heavens but with the tears of our souls. Let us recognize it for what it is: a cultural Tar Baby implacable and immutable, as infinite and as unavoidable as eternity.

"And yet it is an aberration--as the Oxford English Dictionary defines the word, a defect of focus, a departure from the normal. No other religion in the world, except the Judeo-Christian, suffers from it. It demeans man, defining him as stupid and selfish, and it demeans God as vengeful, bloodthirsty and paranoid. It is Original Sin."

Sorry_about_Dresden's picture

God’s answer to (Elijah)? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant  chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works;  if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain.  The elect among them did, but the others were hardened,  as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that could not see
    and ears that could not hear,
   to this very day.”


Your, either, in or out!



poor fella's picture

I don't get it....

What are you talking about?!!

Is that religious furvor? Some fucking dude spurted cum in some fucking bitch instead of on toilet paper and we all popped out. Vulnerable babies crying - cold and hungry. No pussy and no semen is different than another. We are all similar except the bullshit we pick up within this system of greed and power hungry fuckers that need to be put down like the lizard animals they are (whoa, Dimon and Blankfein on my mind lately). 

Regardless of the origination, the idea that Heaven is here on Earth is fantastically powerful. As far as we really know, this is all we have. A true Heaven is a planet, where, if reincarnation is real, it wouldn't matter WHERE a person was born. Any child in any country would have an opportunity to learn, live, and love as much as any other. All societies understanding the importance of cultural differences, individualism, and creativity. 

We are headed to, and nearly arrived at a place where human existance is a smear of monocultural beige, pre-ordained, orderly, catagorized, pointless observance. Soon our digital 'folders' will all look very similar, as nobody will stray too far from the pens in which we are encapsulated. There's only two groups to be 'in' or 'out' of - those that have to feel superior to everyone else at every turn, and normal people. 

Oh well, at least there will be plumpy'nut for all the globe's workers. Hopefully some fucking child in silly-con valley will come up with a nanobot to shoo the flies from plebe's eyes.. 

new game's picture

god is everywhere i turn, even here on zh. dumb fuckers everywhere.

mankinds weakness, truely the opiate of control of the masses.  humans are fucking dumb and especially easy to control by their weakness of believing. and beliefs taken to extremes, like jihads, even the sunday ritual. oh, and the catholics, the worst dispicable hypocrits, butt fucking boys, real fucking cool. fuck religion and anybody stupid enough to fall for any of this bullshit, but you can always pass the plate around for a donation to save your soul. why don't you nutcases save yourself from the this self inflicted mind disease?

that said, leave your god bullshit for another website, where fools can pontificate their beliefs into a frenzy of self reinforcing actions, go out into the cybernet, and physical world and spread the word, your true goal of programming and you don't even know it. for fucking money you don't even get, retarded dude.

signed, doubting thomas...

bunnyswanson's picture

"Who were the Scribes and Pharisees?  The Pharisees were not the priests, but rather people from all walks of life who were very pious and strict keepers of the Law of Moses. They constantly adjusted the Law to fit the changing world according to their traditions and own desires. Among the more educated of the Pharisees were the Scrible and the rulers of the Jews:

"In the modern sense they [the Scribes] were the religious scholars or theologians … sometimes called lawyers … or teachers of the law …could make judicial decisions based on Scriptural exegesis, occupied important positions in the Sanhedrin … played a major role in bringing on the crucifixion of Jesus" and they "mainly belonged to the party of the Pharisees" (WYCLIFFE Bible Dictionary, p. 1536).

Jesus called the Scribes and Pharisees "fools, hypocrites, blind guides, whited sepulchers, murderers, a generation of snakes," and many such epithets. Jesus called them "hypocrites" seven times in one chapter. He spoke with scathing derision to the Scribes and Pharisees throughout His ministry; very few of them received a kind word from Him."

32"Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33"You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

"Civilization begins where chaos and insecurity ends."

Story of Civilization ~ Will & Ariel Durant ~ Volume III, Part 5 ~ Nonfiction "Original Sin has come to be a bargaining chip for power over conscience and hope-- even, in the fires of an auto da fe, over life itself."
"We are about to meet the biggest Trickster of them all, another eternal adolescent, who, like the Snake, is a follower of the Lord of Darkness.  Tricky as Brer Rabbit, he wears a residue of sticky tar ("Concern for the workers, your welfare, your future") that conceals contempt. He will destroy you with your own desires before he bounds away like a rabbit.  And, like a rabbit, he has been multiplying ever since."
Cloud9.5's picture

Christians have very little input into the system.  The President sees them as enemies of the state.

scaleindependent's picture

Good Kyle Bass interview.  Thanks!

Bingo Hammer's picture

On a per capita basis it works out that Australia spends 362.5 when compared to the!!!!!

zorba THE GREEK's picture

Zorba spends less than 5% of his income on defense, and he has enough guns and ammo to invade a small third world country.

BarkingCat's picture

Zorba should help Greece secure its borders.

FIAT CON's picture

Most Countries in the world are bullied by the US, yet they use the US$ as their currency or will accept the US$ anywhere n their Country.

 First a foremost quit using the US$. This would be a disaster for the US Hedgemoney.

Curiously_Crazy's picture

".. yet they use the US$ as their currency or will accept the US$ anywhere n their Country."

I keep hearing this, but I'm yet to visit a country that accepts US$ apart from the USA itself. Australia, New Zealand, UK, South Africa, Switzerland, Norway, France,  all of them need you to convert what ever currency you have into what ever currency they use. You can't just rock up to store and produce a US note. Maybe a myth? Or maybe just in third world shitholes?

Quebecguy's picture

Well I just gave Bernie $5, so it looks (and feels) like money well spent.


Death to the MoneyChangers...

813kml's picture

I've been thinking about buying an F-35 to show my patriotism, I figure that it would fit in the garage since the wings are superfluous.

JustObserving's picture

Real US defense budget is nearly twice the officially stated budget:

The Real Defense Budget

While everyone knows that the defense budget is large -- even in the numbers that the public sees as the formally admitted figures by the Department of Defense -- the truth is that when one scratches beneath the bureaucratic veneer, national security spending is much larger, nearly double the amount US citizens are told.


$561bn Pentagon budget planned, advocates say real budget is $1trn

How much money is really spent on the military:

MegaOlmecanManiac's picture

Freedom isn't free. It costs a hefty fucking fee.

l8apex's picture

Explain please, because I don't see who is threatening my freedom other than my own gov't


MegaOlmecanManiac's picture

Team America: World Police.

Irony and sadness.

uhland62's picture

All police forces need regular overhauls when you discover there's more mess than you can poke a stick at. 

Cloud9.5's picture

The fact that we are still alive does not mean we are free.  It simply means the President has not decided to kill us just yet.

Amish Hacker's picture

Nice links, JO. The other cost often overlooked is the interest cost of borrowing all that money, which should be added in too.

DontGive's picture

Duh... Cocaine and hookers arent cheap. Neither is Cyber (The kind the congresscritters keep mumbling about).

pitz's picture

Considering that China must get at least 10X better value for every dollar of military spending than does the USA, the level of Chinese military spending is rather shocking. 

BarkingCat's picture

and yet somehow the words Chinese military hardware does not strike fear in my heart.

When consumer electronics were made in Japan they were high quality and would last decades.

Once made in China can't seems to last more than few years.

uhland62's picture

Are you aware of the fact that your importer/trading house/brand provides the specifications? I bought a cooking pot recently of the Scanpan brand. 'Made in China according to Scanpan specifications'. The Chinese just make what somebody tells them to make, well mostly. Check Alibaba, where their companies say what they make. I once walked into an upmarket store and found plenty of high value merchandise from China.  

Lurk Skywatcher's picture

Reminds me of that fable about a group of blind men describing what an elephant looks like after touching a single part of it.

American consumers are the ones paying good money to shove their hands in the dung, claiming that an elephant is soft, steaming and smells like shit.


Haraklus's picture

This is one of those 'technically correct, the best kind of correct' situations.  It is common in China to produce something that looks like it's made to specification, but isn't.


There was once a US mobile phone startup.  Bought up some radio spectrum.  They were going to offer a service something between a satellite phone and a regular phone, with awesome reception and solid bandwidth virtually everywhere continental US.  Extremely useful stuff.


Turns out, however, that in practice it interfered with Chinese-made GPS units -- the vast majority on the consumer market, in phones, cars, etc.  These GPS units did what they were supposed to.  But they didn't not do things they weren't supposed to do.


In the end, the startup failed.  The Chinese manufacturers and/or their clients were at fault, but the GPS market is too big to fail.  A lot of the stuff coming out of China is like that.  And we've seen lead paint on toys, melanine in milk, and so on.  And this stuff went to market.


It only failed afterwards. And only because it was so catastrophically bad that it poisoned children.  That's what it took.  Now imagine that instead of doing something so ridiculously awful, they just made something a little bit shittier, a little bit less durable, a little bit less efficient, etc.  Most of their clients aren't really going to care -- after all, that just means consumers will need replacement products sooner.

FIAT CON's picture

American jets were found to have hundreds of Chinese parts on in them. Do you feel safer now?

FIAT CON's picture

They are designed to be of the cheapest quality. How can they con you for more money for a new one every two years if they made a quality product. It's not about you, it's about the Corporation getting you as a  customer every two years, to give them your freedom ie.currency. Sheesh wake up.

Watch this video 2hrs  a little boring in the beginning but well worth the time... it will certainly open up your eyes to yoou being a slave to the ultra rich.