Quote of the Day: Donald Trump’s Imaginary Wall

From Nancy Pelosi to Donald Trump, on the $1.3 trillion spending bill the House passed today:

If you want to think you’re getting a wall, just think it and sign the bill.

She hasn’t lost a step, has she? As near as I can tell, Democrats didn’t lose much of anything in this bill. There’s a token amount for rebuilding some border fencing, but that’s all. The defunding of sanctuary cities got dropped. Domestic programs were fully funded. Opioids got more money. The Gateway Tunnel that Trump opposed as revenge against Chuck Schumer will probably get half a billion dollars, but it’s not actually mentioned in the bill so Trump can pretend it doesn’t exist. There are no restrictions on Planned Parenthood funding.

Democrats already agreed to a big increase in defense spending, which will increase to $590 billion this year plus another $65 billion for “overseas contingency operations,” aka “wars.” Then there’s another $45 billion for defense-related spending outside of DoD, for a total of $700 billion. Here’s what the DoD portion of that spending looks like:

I’m not entirely sure why we need such a huge defense budget, but it’s not the kind of thing that gets me lathered up either. And it’s not as though it was something Democrats fought. Most of them wanted to see it increased too. Here’s what total defense spending looks like—including war funding and all defense-related departments—expressed as a percentage of GDP:

UPDATE: Apologies. There are several different ways of totting up defense spending, but some are more defensible than others. The one I used initially wasn’t right, so I’ve redrawn the chart with better numbers. It now includes (a) base spending, (b) overseas contingency spending, (c) directly defense-related spending in other departments (for example, nuclear weapons development in the Department of Energy), and (d) spending on veterans. The Bureau of Economic Analysis provides this as “National Defense Consumption Expenditures and Gross Investment.” That is, operational spending + spending on capital goods (like jets and aircraft carriers).


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