American taxpayers foot $5,000 bill each for militarism

The analysis disclosed that a staggering $2,974 of the average taxpayer's income was funneled directly to the Pentagon.


A new analysis by the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies has revealed the average U.S. taxpayer’s contribution to militarism soared above $5,000 in 2023, with a substantial slice enriching defense contractors like Lockheed Martin. Amidst escalating global tensions, this financial commitment raises profound questions about national spending priorities and the ethical implications of such vast military investments.

The analysis disclosed that a staggering $2,974 of the average taxpayer’s income was funneled directly to the Pentagon. Yet, it’s the distribution of these funds that’s particularly alarming. “Programs bolstering or supporting the Pentagon…took $5,109 of the average American’s income taxes in 2023,” the report indicates, highlighting a deep-seated reliance on military expenditure.

Defense contractors, reaping the benefits of over half of the Pentagon’s budget, have seen their profits, CEO pay, and stock buybacks surge, often at the taxpayer’s expense. Lindsay Koshgarian, Program Director at the National Priorities Project, expressed outrage, stating, “It’s outrageous that the average taxpayer is giving the equivalent of a month’s rent to Pentagon contractors.”

Contrasted with this military largesse, critical public services seem starkly underfunded. The report found that while Medicare and Medicaid received $4,308 from the average taxpayer, public education and food assistance programs were allocated a mere $346 and $516, respectively. Renewable energy initiatives, crucial in the fight against climate change, were left with a paltry $10.84.

The deployment of taxpayer funds towards military endeavors, especially those entangled in international controversies like the situation in Gaza, presents a complex legal and moral landscape. “Taxpayers have been helping to fund the genocide despite the majority of Americans disapproving of Israel’s military actions,” Koshgarian remarked, underscoring a disconnect between public sentiment and governmental action.

Furthermore, in 2023, the average taxpayer subsidized corporate contractors, including:

● $1,748 toward Pentagon contractors. That’s more than the average monthly rent in the U.S. ($1,372).

● $249 for contracts for Lockheed Martin, the largest Pentagon contractor. That’s more than a week’s food expenses for the average American household ($195).

● $87 for the Pentagon’s contracts with Boeing, the company responsible for the 737 Max’s safety failures. That’s equivalent to filling your car’s gas tank twice.1

● $12 for the Pentagon and NASA’s contracts

The findings of the National Priorities Project not only illuminate the financial dimensions of U.S. militarism but also invite a critical reassessment of how national resources are allocated. As taxpayers bear the brunt of an ever-expanding military budget, the call for a realignment of priorities towards health, education, and environmental sustainability grows increasingly urgent.

In her concluding remarks, Koshgarian said, “The average taxpayer contributed $112 to foreign militaries in 2023, including $14 for the Israeli military. Those tax dollars have directly supported the Israeli military’s destruction of Gaza.”


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Alexandra Jacobo is a dedicated progressive writer, activist, and mother with a deep-rooted passion for social justice and political engagement. Her journey into political activism began in 2011 at Zuccotti Park, where she supported the Occupy movement by distributing blankets to occupiers, marking the start of her earnest commitment to progressive causes. Driven by a desire to educate and inspire, Alexandra focuses her writing on a range of progressive issues, aiming to foster positive change both domestically and internationally. Her work is characterized by a strong commitment to community empowerment and a belief in the power of informed public action. As a mother, Alexandra brings a unique and personal perspective to her activism, understanding the importance of shaping a better world for future generations. Her writing not only highlights the challenges we face but also champions the potential for collective action to create a more equitable and sustainable world.