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Just How Small a Sliver is Energy Spending in Our National Budget? Energy R&D Spending is Dwarfed By Defense and Health Budgets

All those "wasteful" energy programs currently threatened by the House GOP are but a tiny thread compared to military and health spending.


Wake me when the so-called "deficit hawks" stop gutting our paltry energy spending and start talking about the Department of Defense.

This chart (cc) from Third Way was released as part of a report—Creating a Clean Energy Century—last fall. I actually linked to it awhile back, but it feels particularly timely right now as the House GOP threatens pretty much every crumb of R&D funding. (Except for investment in nuclear and deep offshore drilling, of course.)


Here's whole graphic, with Third Way's summary:


Keep in mind: this is just R&D spending. If you can't make it out, the Third Way summary reads:

Federal investment in health and defense innovation has never faced the rollercoaster of uncertainty faced by energy. Over the past two decades, the government has invested $52 billion in energy, compared to $452 billion in health research and $1.3 trillion for defense. Public energy innovation funding dipped, then flat-lined beginning in 1998 while investment in health and defense increased by an average of $167 million a year. This has correlated into a 4% growth in the defense sector and 5% in health care compared to only 2.3% in energy in the U.S.

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It's not that the energy industry doesn't have as powerful lobbyists as the defense and health industries. Rather, the energy industry lobbyists spend all their time, energy, and substantial funds fighting to maintain the fossil fuel-dominated status quo. (Except, again, nuclear.) Like I said, as conservatives shill on about the deficit, wake me when someone starts talking about serious cuts to defense.

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