In fact, Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post reports, it’s just the opposite. The real story is the rise of the American welfare state. Whereas in 1956 (see chart) defense spending was nearly 60% of the US budget, now it’s just less than 20%.
In comparison, the roles have switched: in fiscal year 2006, the US Federal government spent $2.7 trillion, of which Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid combined formed approximately $1 billion. Almost $200 billion came from payments to poor, earned-income tax credit and food stamps.
Those who are concerned with the size of the U.S. Defense budget should take a good look at all U.S. government expenditures before spending their talents barking up a sapling: European governments now are largely considering reversing decades of welfare-state policies, and going the American route (and more recently British route) by privatizing state industries and minimizing the welfare state.
So for 50 years, we’ve been striving to be more French. Sacre bleu! Bring on the wine and cheese! If we can’t beat ’em, join ’em! (What was the quote about monkeys?)