The United States of America spent 20 percent of the federal budget on defense in 2011. That amount was increased to 24 percent in 2012. In addition, $682 billion was spent on military funding alone last year. This gigantic expense ended up making the United States number one in terms of defense spending last year. China followed with $166 billion, which is less than a quarter of what America spent.

In contrast, the Department of State and Other International Programs made up only 1 percent of the federal budget last year. Of the government’s overall budget in 2012, $47 billion was spent in this area. This funding does not target one specific area, but instead goes to multiple efforts such as exports, world hunger, health, national security, the economy, Iraq and Afghanistan, investments, education, and other projects.

There are nine official sectors that separate international affairs funding. They are as follows: peace and security; democracy, human rights, and governance; health; education and social services; economic development; environment; humanitarian assistance; program management; and multi-sector. Beneath these nine sectors are forty-four other sectors that divide funding even further.

Defense spending is also divided into sectors, or categories. The categories are as follows: military defense, civil defense, veterans, foreign military aid, foreign economic aid, R and D defense, and defense n.e.c. (not elsewhere classified).

Let’s take a look at the individual breakdown. When it comes down to individual spending, defense continues to take a larger chunk of funds than does international affairs. The United States spends, in essence, the equivalent of $73 per American citizen each year on foreign aid. At the same time, the U.S. spends $1,763 per person on defense each year.

$30 billion per year is needed to solve world hunger – only $30 billion. When juxtaposed with the staggering amount of money spent on defense and military ventures, this number is very easily attainable. $30 billion could stop world hunger and pull billions of people out of poverty.

The large amount of money used for defense could be decreased – that’s a real possibility. If some of that sector was spent on world hunger instead of all these areas – if there was one specific section intended just for fighting world hunger – it could be eradicated.

– Samantha Davis

Sources: Whitehouse.govStatista.comThe GuardianWashington Post
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