The Washington Post

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.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Be a man and cry
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Chicago's tacos, four ways
Play Videos
What you need to know about filming the police
What you need to know about trans fats
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
Play Videos
Riding the X2 with D.C.'s most famous rapper
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained
Next Story
Lydia DePillis · August 30, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.