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US Military Spending in 2010 the largest since WWII

December 1, 2010

(This article is re-posted from Open Secrets.)

Did you know that the United States is spending more on its military this year than any other year since World War II? In an article in The New Republic, Gregg Easterbrook outlines how the $700 billion the United States is spending on defense this year is roughly equivalent to military spending in all other countries combined — and how when adjusted for inflation, it’s more than was spent during the Korean War, the Vietnam War or during the Reagan military buildup.

Since 2001, Easterbrook writes, “military and security expenditures have soared by 119 percent” and “even if the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are subtracted, the defense budget has swelled by 68 percent since 2001.”

During this time, lobbying by defense contractors and other defense-related interests has also surged. According to the Center for Responsive Politics‘ analysis, in the 10-year period between 1999 and 2008, when adjusted for inflation, defense sector lobbying increased by 120 percent — going from $70 million in 1999 to $154 million in 2008 (in 2010 dollars). Calendar year 2008 represented the peak of defense lobbying in the past decade. (See graph below.)

Nevertheless, during the first three quarters of 2010, defense sector interests still invested $102 million in lobbying. These 318 clients hired nearly 1,000 lobbyists — of whom two-thirds have passed through Washington’s “revolving door” of influence between the private and public sectors, according to the Center’s research.

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