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Politics Trump’s Defense Spending Exaggerations

15:25  12 july  2018
15:25  12 july  2018 Source:   factcheck.org

In Pointed Letters, Trump Demands More Defense Spending From NATO Allies

  In Pointed Letters, Trump Demands More Defense Spending From NATO Allies The letters, which went out last month, are the latest sign of acrimony between Mr. Trump and American allies as he heads to a NATO summit meeting next week in Brussels.WASHINGTON — President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies, including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada, taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance.

President Trump repeated his criticism that other NATO countries spend less than their fair share of the cost of the defense treaty. Collectively, defense spending by all NATO members in 2017 came to 7 billion.

President Trump repeated his criticism that other NATO countries spend less than their fair share of the cost of the defense treaty. Collectively, defense spending by all NATO members in 2017 came to 7 billion.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to hold a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018. © REUTERS/Yves Herman U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to hold a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2018.

President Donald Trump exaggerated the size of the defense budget in a couple of ways in recent speeches and remarks:

  • In West Virginia, Trump said that “we have secured … a record $700 billion for our military” this fiscal year and $716 billion — the “most amount ever” — for next year. Trump is referring to budget authority, not actual spending. This year’s budget authority is not “a record.” Next year will not be the “most amount ever,” when adjusting previous years for inflation.
  • In Brussels for the NATO summit meeting, Trump claimed that the U.S. defense budget is 4.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. It hasn’t been above 4 percent since fiscal year 2012, according to the Defense Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Defense Budget Not a ‘Record’

Trump made his remarks about the “record” defense spending during a July 3 visit to the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

NATO Allies Defend Their Military Spending In the Face of President Trump's Criticism

  NATO Allies Defend Their Military Spending In the Face of President Trump's Criticism NATO allies are pushing back against U.S. criticism that they are not spending enough on defense as President Donald Trump ratchets up pressure ahead of a summit next week. In the weeks leading up to NATO’s July 11-12 summit in Brussels, Trump sent letters to the governments of Norway, other European allies and Canada demanding that they boost their defense spending.After Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, NATO allies agreed to stop cutting defense budgets, to start spending more as their economies grew and to move toward a goal of devoting 2 percent of GDP to defense within a decade.

U. S . President Donald Trump accused Germany on Wednesday of being a "captive" of Russia due to its energy reliance, before a NATO summit where he pressed allies to more than double defense spending .

While the full impact of Trump ’ s proposed Pentagon spending increases won’t be felt until later this year and in 2019, he did make a significant impact last year in his role as arms dealer in chief. Nonetheless, when you peel away the layers of Trumpian bombast and exaggeration , his

Trump, July 3: We have secured, this year — with the help of [West Virginia Sen.] Shelley [Moore Capito] and your great congressman — a record $700 billion for our military. And next year, $716 billion — most amount ever.

Trump is right about the dollar amounts, but he is talking about budget authority, which gives the department the legal authority to incur obligations. That’s different from how much is actually spent, which is known as budget outlays.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, a two-year budget agreement that Trump signed into law Feb. 9, set the budget authority for national defense at $700 billion in fiscal year 2018 and $716 billion in fiscal 2019.

Let’s look first at Trump’s repeated claim about $700 billion being “a record.” The president made a similar remark at a White House event on June 27, when he called the $700 billion for fiscal year 2018 “the largest ever for our military.” It is not.

Germany: Merkel pledges 'every effort' to avert US trade war

  Germany: Merkel pledges 'every effort' to avert US trade war German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that the European Union will make every effort to avoid a trade war with the United States.

In a May 17 meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House, President Trump applauded the many billions of dollars of increased defense spending by NATO allies and praised the “tremendous job” done by the NATO chief.

President Donald Trump suggested Wednesday that NATO nations double the amount of their gross domestic product that they spend on defense , furthering his long-running complaint that the U. S . carries too much of the organization’ s mutual defense burden.

a close up of smoke © Provided by FactCheck.org The budget authority for national defense was larger in nominal dollars, which are not adjusted for inflation, in 2010 ($721 billion) and in 2011 ($717 billion). That’s according to the White House’s own Office of Management and Budget. (See “Total, National Defense,” Table 5.1.)

When adjusted for inflation, four other years since 1976 exceeded the fiscal 2018 budget authority, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a think tank headed by Thomas G. Mahnken, a Republican congressional appointee to the Commission on the National Defense Strategy for the United States.

Jacob Cohn, a CSBA research fellow, calculated the real, or inflation-adjusted, value of budget authority amounts in fiscal 2019 dollars for us, based on the OMB’s deflators (table 10.1). Cohn’s calculations show that the $700.9 billion in budget authority for fiscal 2018 would be the equivalent of $712.6 billion in fiscal 2019 dollars — which was less than the inflation-adjusted amounts from 2007 through 2012. The peak during that time occurred in 2010, when Congress authorized $834.3 billion in 2019 dollars.

Trump’s pressure on NATO is working, US ambassador says

  Trump’s pressure on NATO is working, US ambassador says President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign on North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to boost spending for their own defense is paying off, U.S. NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison said. Separately, the U.S. envoy said she’s concerned that Russia is trying to “flip” Turkey and other American allies to its column.“NATO really is making progress, and they are doing it really at President Trump’s insistence,” Hutchinson said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s very clear, and he’s been very direct about the Europeans needing to do more for their own security.

President Trump is expected to ask for 6 billion in defense spending when he unveils his 2019 budget next month, a major increase that signals a shift away from concerns about rising deficits, U. S . officials said.

Mr. Trump characterized his Defense Department budget request as historic. “I am sending Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the defense sequester and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.”

As for Trump’s claim that $716 billion in budget authority for fiscal 2019 will be the “most amount ever,” Cohn looked at outlays — actual spending — instead of budget authority, because the data go back to 1940, covering World War II spending. He found that the “most amount ever” spent was in 1945, when the U.S. spent the equivalent of $950.1 billion (in 2019 dollars). More was also spent in 1943 and 1944, and in 2008 through 2012, which included the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Below is a chart that Cohn created for us that shows inflation-adjusted outlays for national defense since 1940.

a close up of a bridge © Provided by FactCheck.org
Defense Budget as Share of GDP

At a rally in Montana, Trump criticized the European Union, saying they “kill us” on trade. He then went on to attack NATO countries for failing to spend enough on their national defense. In doing so, Trump claimed that the U.S. defense budget is 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. It isn’t.

Trump, July 5: On top of that, they kill us with NATO. They kill us. So we pay 4 percent of a huge GDP, which got a lot bigger since I became your president.

Trump Still Distorting NATO Spending

  Trump Still Distorting NATO Spending President Donald Trump continues to wrongly claim that the United States is paying as much as 90 percent of the cost of operating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In reality, the U.S. share of the commonly funded NATO budget is currently just over 22 percent, according to the most recent figures from NATO.Trump’s complaints about NATO spending are actually based on how much the U.S. spends on its own defense compared with what other member nations spend on theirs.Still, the U.S.

If Trump ’ s remarks are true, NATO member states would increase their defense spending beyond 2% of their GDP. “NATO is much stronger now than it was two days ago,” Trump announced. However, Trump ’ s “ spending victory” appeared to be untrue immediately.

US President Donald Trump says NATO members that do not meet defense - spending targets will be "dealt with." Germany is far from being on track to meet the alliance' s target of 2 percent of gross domestic product.

He reiterated that point on July 11 in Brussels for the NATO summit.

Trump, July 11: On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent, whereas the United States, in actual numbers, is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP.

NATO, the U.S. Department of Defense and the White House Office of Management and Budget all show the United States with a defense budget below 4 percent of GDP.

The Department of Defense’s budget request for fiscal year 2019 shows that defense outlays were 3.0 percent of GDP in fiscal 2017 and were estimated to be 3.1 percent in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The White House Office of Management and Budget offers a slightly higher estimate for this year at 3.2 percent of GDP. (See Table 8-4 of OMB’s historical tables.)

The last time defense outlays reached 4 percent or more was 2012, according to both OMB and the Department of Defense. It was 4.1 percent of GDP in 2012, according to the Defense Department, while the OMB placed the figure at 4.2 percent that year.

The department’s budget document includes a chart, displayed below, that shows the peak occurred in 1944 at 35.5 percent of GDP.

a screenshot of a map © Provided by FactCheck.org

NATO has a higher figure for the United States for 2018, but it is still not 4 percent.

Senate overwhelmingly passes resolution supporting NATO as Trump attacks continue

  Senate overwhelmingly passes resolution supporting NATO as Trump attacks continue Lawmakers on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution supporting NATO, as President Trump continues to criticize members. The measure expresses the Senate's support for the body and calls on negotiators to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to NATO.The 97-2 vote in the Senate comes as Trump heads to Brussels for the NATO summit. He will also travel to the UK and meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki during his trip.GOP Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee voted against the measure, according to Defense News.Democratic Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.) proposed the measure, calling the U.S. support for NATO "ironclad.

Trump talks defense spending increases in new budget. Feb.12.201801:13. This year, the plan would allocate big dollars for the military and veterans programs, with a proposed 6 billion directed toward national defense spending .

Trump did not say 70 to 90 percent of what. It' s true that if the overall defense budgets of all 29 NATO allies are tallied, the U. S . defense budget Exaggeration . NATO reported on July 10 that spending by European members increased from last fiscal year to the current fiscal year by about billion.

In a report dated July 10, NATO estimates that the U.S. defense expenditure as a share of GDP this year will be 3.5 percent. (NATO estimates Germany’s defense expenditure at 1.24 percent of GDP.) The report says each member country reports defense spending, or planned spending, to NATO, “according to an agreed definition of defence expenditure.”

NATO explains that its share-of-GDP figures “may diverge considerably from those which are quoted by media, published by national authorities or given in national budgets.” That is the case with the U.S. figure, but neither NATO nor the U.S. show defense spending at 4 percent of GDP.

In fact, defense spending would have had to total about $776 billion in 2017 (and even more in 2018) in order for the U.S. to have spent 4 percent of its GDP on defense.

U.S. GDP in 2017 was $19.4 trillion, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Four percent would be $776 billion — far more than the $700 billion in budget authority for fiscal year 2018 that Trump falsely claimed was “a record,” and the $716 billion that he said is the “most amount ever” spent.

The post Trump’s Defense Spending Exaggerations appeared first on FactCheck.org.

Macron Denies Trump Claim That NATO Allies Agreed to Increase Spending Beyond Goals .
<p>French President Emmanuel Macron denied that any NATO members had agreed to boost contributions beyond 2 percent GDP.</p>“Tremendous progress has been made. Everyone’s agreed to substantially up their commitment. They’re going to up it at levels that they’ve never thought of before,” Trump said at his press conference in Brussels.

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