Defense spending as a percent of GDP has declined from about 11 percent in 1968 to about 5 percent in 2010. Pentagon hawks sometimes use this statistic to defend themselves against the claim that defense spending, which fills a fifth of the federal budget, should be invincible from cuts. Bruce Bartlett, deficit warrior, deconstructs the logic:
First, they claim the military is not the "true source of our fiscal woes." No one is saying the defense budget is the sole source of the deficit, but the fact is that it has risen from 3 percent of the gross domestic product in fiscal year 2001 to 4.7 percent this year. That additional 1.7 percent of GDP amounts to $250 billion in spending -- almost 20 percent of this year's budget deficit. And according to a recent Congressional Research Service report, the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone accounted for 23 percent of the combined budget deficits between fiscal years 2003 and 2010.
Read the full story at Fiscal Times.