How much is the $52 billion “Black Budget,” really?

Expensive, but not overwhelming. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

Yesterday, we learned what's in the Pentagon's $52.6 billion "black budget" for the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Administration, and other super-secret information-gathering outfits. That sounds like a lot of money, but it's actually a pretty small line item in the federal government's $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2013. Here are some points of comparison:

- $52 billion: The amount the Department of Defense will have to cut by January 2014 from its $498-billion budget if its next sequestration deadline is not averted.

- $12.6 billion: What the F-35 joint strike fighter program is expected to cost each year, on average, through 2037.

- $44.9 billion: Exxon Mobil's 2012 profits.

- $37.7 billion: India's 2013 defense budget.

- $50.96 billion: The total gross domestic product for Rhode Island in 2012.

- $74.6 billion: The amount the U.S. spent on food stamps in 2012.

- $42.1 billion: Tax revenue collected in New York City in 2012.

- $49.3 billion: The cost of the Iraq war in 2011.

- $67 billion: Bill Gates' net worth.

- $3.07 billion: U.S. aid to Israel in 2012.

- $14.87 billion: Farm subsidies paid in 2012.

- $25.4 billion: What California will spend on higher education in 2012-2013.

- $248.3 billion: Projection for federal Medicaid spending in 2012.

Lydia DePillis is a reporter focusing on labor, business, and housing. She previously worked at The New Republic and the Washington City Paper. She's from Seattle.
Continue reading 10 minutes left
Show Comments



Most Read Business