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What portion of all federal government spending is for national defense and veterans' benefits?

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In 2020, 14% of all federal government spending was for national defense and veterans' benefits. In comparison, 73% of all federal spending was for social programs, 10% was for general government and debt service, 3% was for economic affairs, and 1% was for public order and safety (including immigration enforcement). Politicians and activists often mislead the public about the composition of federal spending by using figures that exclude all "mandatory" programs, like Food Stamps and Medicare. Also, media outlets rarely, if ever, provide a clear and accurate overview of all government spending. Thus, a 2019 scientific survey of U.S. voters found that 58% falsely believe the federal government spends more money on national defense than on social programs. Voters who are laboring under this misconception include 33% of Republicans and 84% of Democrats.

DocumentationFederal Spending by Function"Mandatory" SpendingMisleading Budget Reports2019 Scientific Survey




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