The 300 Million
Tigerhawk looks the NYT's demographic retrospective of America as it approaches the 300 million population mark. He makes two observations, one about the proportion devoted to defense; second about the proportion of wealth devoted to fuel:
First, look at what has happened to our military since the last Democratic administation with any testicular fortitude. In 1967, at the height of the battle for Vietnam in the middle of World War III, we had 1.7% of our population under arms, or approximately 3.4 million people. Today, while waging two wars in Asia at what many of us fear is not the height of World War IV, we have less than 0.5% of our population under arms.
In fact, the average price of gasoline at the pump was only $2.31 as of October 2, the last week that government data are available. That would have shown very little difference in real terms from 1967, [an increase of] only about 15% over 40 years.
It would interesting to figure out the change in the proportion of income people spent on fuel between 1967 and the present. Real incomes have risen since 1967, so even if gasoline is 15% more expensive in real terms than in the "good old days" there are more real dollars to go around. If anybody has the time to crunch the numbers it would be useful.