At Taxpayers for Common Sense, we don’t advocate cutting federal spending in one department or agency and moving it to another. But sometimes it’s instructive to look at how spending on one part of the government compares to others.
Below we have drawn up a simple chart showing how the Pentagon’s recent Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) request ($58.6 billion) compares to annual funding for other federal agencies. Remember, this additional slush fund of money is on top of the Pentagon’s “base budget” request of $495.6 billion for Fiscal Year (FY)2015. See here for our source for these numbers.
The OCO request released by the Administration on June 26, 2014, also includes $7.3 billion in additional funding over the State Department’s base budget of $42.6 billion. That OCO request is the same as annual funding for the National Science Foundation.
So for numbers people like us, it’s instructive to see (in living color, as they used to say) that 16 federal agencies get along for an entire fiscal year on less money than the Pentagon wants just for its overseas contingency operations.
Put another way, you could almost fund the Departments of Labor, Interior, and Commerce as well as the Social Security Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, The National Science Foundation, and the Corps of Engineers (total, $60.9 billion) for what the Pentagon says it needs just for contingency operations.
At Taxpayers for Common Sense we believe it’s past time for the Pentagon to learn to live within its base budget of close to half a trillion dollars.