HONOKOHAU BAY, MAUI (HAWAIINEWSNOW) - The great senator Everett Dirksen, Republican Illinois, famously said, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." More on that quote in a moment. This pie chart shows discretionary federal spending. Medicare and Social Security are left out because President Trump says he won't touch those.
This whole pie representatives well over a trillion dollars in spending. About $600 billion is defense, and that doesn't count VA benefits, which is another $65 billion. We've heard that President Trump intends to ask for $54 billion more for defense while cutting that much from other budgets from foreign aid and EPA. But foreign aid is one of the tiniest chunks of spending. It plus then entire State Department budget combined make up only about 4% of this pie. EPA and the Energy Department together are only 3%. The USDA is only 1%, and that includes the food stamp program.
Now, about that quote. Everett Dirksen, who died in 1969, said a newspaper reporter misquoted him, but he liked it so much he never troubled to deny it. But here's something Dirksen really did say: "I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times."