I wanted the actual figures on expenditures in the 2012 US Federal Budget. I had read previously that the defense budget, while sizable, has not been the largest budget item. But, from what you and Nat say, defense is by far the biggest item. The chart shows the following (amounts are discretionary and mandatory spending combined):
Department of Defense, including Overseas Contingency Operations (e.g. Iraq and Afghanistan wars): $688.3 billion
Dept of Health and Human Services (including Medicaid and Medicare): $872 billion
Social Security Administration: $829.2 billion
HUD: $56.8 billion
Combining the latter 3 budget items, the so-called social welfare/entitlement programs, comes to $1.785 trillion.
As percentage of the total 2012 US Federal budget, Defense (including Iraq and Afghanistan) makes up approximately 19.7%.
As percentage of the total 2012 US Federal budget, the three entitlement programs listed above make up approximately 49.7%
Now, how anyone can claim that Defense is the leading or overwhelming aspect of the Federal budget . . even including money budgeted for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan . . . well, these numbers don't bear that out.