USS New Mexico, commissioned March 27, 2010. Cost: $2.3 billion. (AP Photo/US Navy - Seaman Scott Pittman).
Health care? Social Security? An economic stimulus bill? Wars? Bailing out Wall Street banks? Education? Our nation's infrastructure? Each may be a good guess based on the issues that get attention in the mainstream media.
The correct answer may be that 53% of the federal tax being collected in 2010 has already been allocated for defense spending.
The 2011 military budget, by the way, is the largest in history, not just in actual dollars, but in inflation adjusted dollars, exceeding even the spending in World War II, when the nation was on an all-out military footing. Military spending in all its myriad forms works out to represent 53.3% of total US federal spending.
That would mean the military's share of the approximately $3 trillion 2011 budget is about $1.6 trillion.
On the other hand, anyone can find a handy fact sheet posted on the white house's web site that puts the department of defense's share of the budget at a "mere" $708 billion, seemingly bringing the cost down to about 24 cents on the tax dollar.
So, who's telling the truth? The answer is that both are, depending on how one looks at federal budget allocations.