The Trillion Dollar Foreign Policy
"We're spending $1 trillion a year on our foreign policy," Texas Congressman
Ron Paul told CNN. In follow-up communications with PolitiFact.com, a
Pulitzer Prize-winning project of the St. Petersburg Times, Paul backed up
that figure by citing an article by Independent Institute Senior Fellow
"Higgs argues that looking at how much money goes to the Department of
Defense is insufficient," a column in PolitiFact.com reports. "One also has
to include the appropriations for the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons
program, the Department of State, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and
the interest payments attributable to past debt-financed defense spending,
among other expenses. Crunching the numbers for 2009, Higgs came up with a
total that's slightly over $1 trillion."
To the uninitiated, a trillion dollar estimate for the annual cost of U.S.
foreign policy might seem like an exaggeration, but other analysts'
estimates are comparable, according to PolitiFact.com. Winslow Wheeler from
the Center for Defense Information put the 2010 foreign-policy price tag at
$1,021.3 billion, slightly over $1 trillion. Cindy Williams of the MIT
Security Studies Program put the tab at $966 billion. Stephen Donahoe from
the Friends Committee on National Legislation came up with $935 billion for
2010 and $950 for 2011. When the numbers are gigantic, differences amounting
to even tens of billions of dollars are but quibbles among the budget
analysts--and chump change to the military-industrial-congressional complex.
"Ron Paul Says U.S. Spends $1 Trillion on Foreign Policy" (PolitiFact.com,
"Defense Spending Is Much Greater than You Think," by Robert Higgs (The
Congress, the Defense Budget, and Pork: A Snout-to-Tail Description of
Congress' Foremost Concern in National Security Legislation, by Winslow
Depression, War, and Cold War: Challenging the Myths of Prosperity and
Depression, by Robert Higgs
Opposing the Crusader State: Alternatives to Global Interventionism, edited
by Robert Higgs and Carl Close
Arms, Politics, and the Economy: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives,
edited by Robert Higgs