What portion of all federal government spending is for national defense and veterans' benefits?
In 2018, 18% of all federal government spending was for national defense and veterans' benefits. Other major categories of spending were for social programs (62%), general government and debt service (14%), economic affairs (4%), and public order and safety (1%). Politicians and activists often mislead the public about the composition of federal spending by citing figures that exclude all permanently funded "mandatory" programs, like Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income. In accord with such misinformation, 61% of U.S. voters believe the federal government spends more money on national defense than social programs. In reality, federal spending on social programs is 3.4 times higher than national defense.