Tax Day and Nuclear Costs

April 19th, 2023 - by Physicians for Social Responsibility

Tax Day and Nuclear Costs
Physicians for Social Responsibility

(April 18, 2923) — Today is Tax Day, the day we fund our national priorities. Where do nuclear weapons fit in your priorities? PSR LA launches its Nuclear Weapons Community Tax project today. Our nation will spend over $90 Billion dollars this year alone on all nuclear weapons programs.

See what your community is spending on nuclear weapons programs this year and ask yourself how these dollars might be better spent. Here is the link. Please share widely and continue to do your part.

There is now a US H.Res 77 supporting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the common sense precautionary measures necessary until these weapons are abolished.

Please ask your Congressperson to Co-sponsor this resolution and consider supporting the work of the Back from the Brink coalition of 443 organizations, 333 elected US officials, 70 cities and counties and 7 state legislative bodies working to make this a reality @

Thank you for all that each of you does to bring about a world free of nuclear weapons.

US Nuclear Weapons Expenditures for FY 2023
(Tax Year 2022) = $90,336,000,000!
Physicians for Social Responsibility: Los Angeles

Nuclear weapons threaten us every moment of every day. While most reasonable individuals recognize that these weapons cannot and must not ever be used, approximately 12,512 weapons (1) remain in the nuclear arsenals of the world. We also know that the use of even a tiny fraction (<1/2%) of these weapons over a single populated region would cause catastrophic climate change resulting in a global famine putting potentially 2 billion people at risk (2).

These weapons also threaten us by robbing our communities of precious resources that could be redirected to the many needs that our communities cry out for. This Nuclear Weapons Cost Program, now in its 34th year, attempts to determine the full cost of nuclear weapons programs to our communities.

There have been many excellent calculations of portions of our nuclear weapons costs including the ICAN report on global costs (3). These reports deal primarily with the cost of warheads and delivery systems and development alone in an attempt to compare one nation to another. In our report we include verifiable costs of all nuclear programs that would not be spent if nuclear weapons did not exist.

These include funding of the nuclear missile defense system, environmental cleanup and legacy programs dealing with communities that have been contaminated by the mining, development, testing and stockpiling of these weapons. Also included is nuclear nonproliferation funding and funding to safeguard and sequester nuclear weapons in Russia and former Soviet Union States.

Determining the full cost of US nuclear weapons programs is a tedious process as the United States is not fully transparent in these figures. We have chosen to list only figures that we can provide reference to. There are other reports that estimate the forecast to be much higher including in “Warheads to Windmills: How to Pay for a Green New Deal.”

In 2013, with the release of the “Black Budget” by Edward Snowden, it was estimated that there were some $9 billion in “top secret” nuclear operations that were never publicly released. While likely still being funded, it has become impossible to track those expenditures and thus there is no inclusion herein.

This fiscal year finds our nation emerging from the global COVID 19 pandemic while facing years of infrastructure neglect resulting in water shortages, contamination and toxic legacies as in the recent Jackson, Mississippi and recent Flint, Michigan disasters often in economically disadvantaged communities and communities of color.

The very existence of nuclear weapons and programs is an economic, environmental, social and racial justice issue. As our country struggles with these realities it is our hope that this project will provide assistance to communities across our nation attempting to address these inequities together. We invite your comments and questions about our program.


Nuclear Weapons:
Economic Impacts at the Local Level

Every April, Dr. Bob Dodge, President of PSR-LA’s Board, calculates the full cost of all nuclear weapons programs to our communities.

For FY 2023, Los Angeles County will spend $2,684,543,111 on nuclear weapons programs, and the city of Los Angeles will spend $1,091,585,981! These are tax dollars much better spent on human needs. Now more than ever, we must change our national priorities and invest in critical needs for our survival, not deadly weapons that must never be used.

You can learn how to calculate individual or community costs below. A table with costs for major cities throughout the United States, as well as source references, is also provided.

Individual Tax Costs

In 2023, the average cost of nuclear weapons development to every man, every woman, even every child in the United States was $271.05. This is based on a national per capita average annual income of $37,638. If your income is different from this, you can calculate your income modifier by dividing your income by the national average.

For example: your income $ / $37,638.00 = your modifier. Multiply this modifier by $271.05 to get your tax contribution to nuclear weapons programs this year. Your modifier x $271.05 = your nuclear weapons tax contribution.

Community Tax Costs
You can calculate the cost of nuclear arms to your community using the following formula:
•  $271.05 X pcim X your population = community cost. To determine pcim (per capita income multiplier) for your community, refer to source 9 listed below.
•  Find per capita income for your county, divide by national per capita income ($37,638.00) – i.e. average per capita income in your county divided by national per capita average ($37.638.00) = pcim for your county.
•  Population figures for your community can also be found in source 9. If you want help calculating the cost for your community, reach out to Alex at

FY 2023 NWC Resources

    1. FY ‘ 23 DOE/NNSA – $22.3 Billion – ACC
    2. FY ’23 DOD nuclear weapons spending – $34.4 Billion – ACC –
    3. FY ’23 Missile Defeat & Defense – $24.7 Billion – ACC
    4. FY ’23 Environmental Cleanup / legacy – $7.64 Billion
    5. FY ’23 NNSA Non-proliferation – $2.49 Billion – AIP– included in NNSA budget
    6. FY ’23 – NC3 (Nuclear Command, Control and Communication) – included in $34.4 Billion DOD funds
    7. FY ’23 CTR (Cooperative Threat Reduction) – $354 Million – pg 7
    8. FY ’23 DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) – $942 Million –-pg2
    9. US Census Quick Facts

How Can We Invest Less in the Military and MORE in Human Needs?
Physicians for Social Responsibility