Fun With Percentages

This graph tells a story: The United States is the stingiest of all countries relative to military budgets.

For example, the United States spends the equivalent of 3% of its defense budget on foreign aid. Contrast this with the Danes, who spend the equivalent of 52% of its defense budget on foreign aid. That is, for every defense dollar Denmark spends, it apparently also spends about a half dollar on foreign aid.

That’s a nice story, Bodie. But what this chart doesn’t illustrate is the relative size of these budgets. Ergo, it’s possible (but I am to lazy to research to prove) that Denmark’s defense budget is so low that 3% of America’s defense budget dwarfs the 53% commitment of Denmark’s.

So one way to bring this into parity would be to raise the foreign corruption contributions and NGO viggorish to 53% of the current US defense budget. The other is to drop the United States’ to match Denmark’s.

One assumes either would please someone who points to these charts as evidence of the United States’ stinginess. Personally, I’ll be satisfied with the absolute, real number amount our wise and benevolent (or at least smiling) leaders in Washington, D.C., expend or perhaps a little dissatisfied that it’s so much.

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2 thoughts on “Fun With Percentages

  1. And what’s more, the people who contrive such charts as this ignore the fact that Americans contribute a lot more through private charities – but those don’t count, presumably because the NGOs can’t get their hands on them.

    Obviously, this chart shows that the Danes don’t spend enough on defense. :)

  2. Yes, sir, that is a point I should have made in the post.

    Man, those Danes have been going downhill since they surrendered the north of England.

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