TruePublica Editor: This is a really interesting article by a political scientist from the University of Colorado. It highlights the cost of military expenditure in the US and breaks down that cost as if presented to each citizen as a tax bill. One wonders just how much people would want to pay for the bombing of nations on the other side of the world and 800 global military bases if a military tax bill was presented each year! I wondered how this might compare in Britain?
In Britain, the overall military defence budget is around 2% of GDP or £45 billion. Add in the unfunded military pension scheme costing £4.5 billion (overall unfunded pension scheme approx. £130bn) per year that supports nearly half a million retirees. The lifetime healthcare costs of each amputee as a result of the Afghanistan conflict alone is costing £1.06million per person and there’s a few hundred of them to consider. In a breakdown of injuries sustained by military branch or service between 2006 and 2014, the British Army was hardest hit with 3,544 wounds, followed by the Royal Marines’ 383 injuries. The RAF sustained 190 and the Royal Navy sustained 40. A 2014 statistical analysis based on Freedom of Information (FoI) requests carried out by the military charity Help for Heroes claimed that up to 59,000 Afghanistan and Second Iraq War veterans could be suffering the effects of mental injury.
The true medical costs, plus housing and other benefits as a result of being unable to work are unknown. In addition, the cost of the activities of MI6 and GCHQ in terms of military ‘support’ is also not known. In fact, the true overall hidden costs just keep escalating. As a guesstimate, it would be more than reasonable to state that 3% of the national GDP goes towards supporting the military one way or another – or £1,634 per working age adult (aged 16-65). The ONS states that of this group of taxpayers, 8.7 million are not in work. Equally, the amount of total taxpayers, including taxpaying pensioners adds up to 29.5 million in total, or £2,271 per taxpayer. Median individual earnings in the UK sits at £21,000 per year. Of course taxation into the treasury comes from all sorts of sources but like the article below it highlights the cost of military expenditure on a more personal basis.