The Simple Truth: When You Invest in War, You Get More War


Last Updated on April 19, 2024.

Did you know that a portion of your income taxes goes towards weapons and war? Corporations like Raytheon enjoy massive tax breaks – and those breaks mean there’s less money to pay for the programs we all rely on.

That number isn’t small – last year, the average taxpayer paid $5,009 in income taxes to fund weapons and war. That’s well over 35% of the average tax bill. Over half of those funds – $2,974 – went directly to weapons contractors. Compare that to the $705 you spent on service members’ pay and housing allowances. Or worse, the $11 spent on energy efficiency and renewable energy programs that can combat climate change.

With all eyes on the Israeli government’s war in Gaza, the consequences couldn’t be more glaring – especially when you consider that corporations like Lockheed Martin are profiting directly from this war. They received $249 from the average taxpayer last year, which is more than the typical weekly food expenses for the average household.

Each year at tax time, our partners over at the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies create a “tax receipt” to show where your 2023 income taxes went, along with a fact sheet that breaks down the specific numbers:


Graphic courtesy of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

The Pentagon’s unchecked greed doesn’t just divert resources away from crucial domestic priorities such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure — it also perpetuates a cycle of violence and instability here at home and abroad. The simple truth is that when you invest in war, you get more war.

Our tax dollars could go so much farther than bombs and bullets. By failing to prioritize critically needed investments in our communities at home and continuing to underfund diplomacy, humanitarian aid, and investments in sustainable development, our current approach is failing to build a more peaceful and just world.

Right now, there are critical ways you can use your voice and power to invest in and promote peace. Three ways you can do that today are:

As we speak, the Pentagon budget for FY2025 is quickly creeping past $1 TRILLION. It’s an astronomical amount — well over $100 BILLION above the largest spending year during the Cold War.

If you’re one of the millions of people who’re sick and tired of our tax dollars funding weapons and war, and being pocketed by weapons industry CEOs, we need you with us.


April 19, 2024