Ever wonder where your federal tax paying dollars go? The federal pie chart is divided into five quarters: current military at 36%, human resources at 30%, past military at 18%, general government at 11% and physical resources at 5%.
These figures were determined by an analysis of detailed figures and tables from the "Analytical Perspectives" book of the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2009. These figures represent federal funds so what you pay, or don't pay, by April 15 goes into the federal budget. The Vietnam War era was the start of the government's practice of combining trust and federal funds to make the human resource portion of the budget seem bigger while making the military section seem smaller.
So why do the percentages vary so radically from group to group? Not even the U.S. Government, the CDI or the FCNL can agree on what the military spending amount is. In reality, diverse groups have different reasons for how they present their budget figures. Basically the same five factors are used every year when analyzing the U.S. budget.
The Center for Defense Information (CDI) uses what they call 'discretionary spending' for budget items that Congress can fix to their needs. These exclude, however, 'mandatory spending' items such as retirement pay and interest on the national debt.
The government, news media and certain groups would rather use the term 'budget authority' when referring to new spending that is authorized over a period of several years. Other groups utilize the term 'outlay' to refer to spending done in a particular fiscal year.
It's wise to remember that not all military spending is done by the Department of Defense (DOD) and that the Department of Energy holds some responsibility especially in the nuclear weapon department. In theory, calculations for military spending should be deemed the function of the budget item regardless of what agency or department in charge of it.
When the government refers to the 'unified budget', they are usually referring to federal funds that exclude trust fund money such as social security. Social security is money that is raised independently, specifically for particular programs.
Also, when trying to understand the variation in figures on a federal tax chart, remember that different fiscal years are used. For example, the FCNL does their analysis for the most recent completed year while the U.S. government figures are as up-to-date as possible.