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The Social Security Shortfall and the National Defense Shortfall

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Publication Date: April 2005

Publisher(s): Center for Economic and Policy Research

Author(s): Dean Baker

Topic: Banking and finance (Public finance)

Keywords: Federal budget; Military spending; Health care

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


This paper finds that the additional spending required to maintain U.S. military dominance in the coming decades is likely to be many times larger than the projected Social Security shortfall. Using a purchasing power parity (PPP) measure of GDP, China's economy is already two-thirds of the size of the U.S. economy and is projected to exceed it by 2016. If China devotes a comparable share of its GDP to defense, then keeping pace will impose a large economic burden on the United States.