National Taxpayers Union Foundation challenges the long-held notion that the U.S. should spend at least four percent of GDP on defense in a new policy paper, "When More Is Meaningless," authored by Matthew Fay, who serves as a Foreign and Defense Policy Analyst at the Niskanen Center.
As lawmakers respond to recent security developments and make decisions about the proper allocation on next year's appropriation dollars, it is an appropriate time to consider the broader impact of Pentagon spending on taxpayers, the economy, and global stability.
Over the past decade, a number of conservative politicians and national security analysts have argued that the Department of Defense should have a perpetual claim on a minimum percentage of the economy: four percent of gross domestic product (GDP). They argue that because a spending floor of this type has not been established, the U.S. has been left with a “hollow force” unable to support a grand strategy of military primacy.
Focusing on an arbitrary number and misleading historical comparisons is neither fiscally responsible nor strategically coherent. Such an approach will not serve the best interests of our national security and will undermine our economic prosperity.