The White House is touting President Biden’s U.S. military budget for fiscal 2024 as a record, and Mr. Biden is betting busy Americans won’t look past the headlines. The truth is that he’s asking for a real defense cut, even as the U.S. is waking up late to a world of new threats.

The Pentagon’s budget request may seem large at $842 billion. But the figure is only a 3.2 percent increase over last year, and with inflation at 6 percent it means a decline in buying power. Compare the 3.2 percent growth with the double-digit increases for domestic accounts: 19 percent for the Environmental Protection Agency; 13.6 percent for both the Education and Energy Departments; 11.5 percent for Health and Human Services.

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