Tax Day is April 15th.
For some, tax season is a wonderful. You receive a return, have some extra cash to go shopping or plan a vacation. For others, tax day means shipping off money you were dreaming of holding on to.
Whether you are for or against taxes, you wish to raise or lower them, there is no denying that government accountability regarding spending is important. You wouldn't want your government spending all of your hard earned money on booze, for example. Tax dollars are meant to go towards public services. We pay our government with tax dollars because the public largely agrees that the government should provide certain services to its citizens.
So is our government spending appropriately? What is our money spent on?
Today we will focus simply on Federal Tax Dollars.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
In fiscal year 2013, the federal government spent $3.5 trillion, amounting to 21 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Of that $3.5 trillion, nearly $2.8 trillion was financed by federal revenues. The remaining amount ($680 billion) was financed by borrowing; this deficit will ultimately be paid for by future taxpayers.
In 2013, 19 percent of the budget, or $643 billion, paid for defense and security-related international activities. The bulk of the spending in this category reflects the underlying costs of the Department of Defense. The total also includes the cost of supporting operations in Afghanistan and other related activities, described as Overseas Contingency Operations in the budget, funding for which totaled $93 billion in 2013.
Another 24 percent of the budget, or $814 billion, paid for Social Security, which provided monthly retirement benefits averaging $1,294 to 37.9 million retired workers in December 2013. Social Security also provided benefits to 2.9 million spouses and children of retired workers, 6.2 million surviving children and spouses of deceased workers, and 11 million disabled workers and their eligible dependents in December 2013.
Three health insurance programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — together accounted for 22 percent of the budget in 2013, or $772 billion. Nearly two-thirds of this amount, or $498 billion, went to Medicare, which provides health coverage to around 54 million people who are over the age of 65 or have disabilities. The remainder of this category funds Medicaid and CHIP, which in a typical month provide health care or long-term care to about 70 million low-income children, parents, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Both Medicaid and CHIP require matching payments from the states.
Safety net programs: About 12 percent of the federal budget in 2013, or $398 billion, supported programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship. Spending on safety net programs declined in both nominal and real terms between 2012 and 2013 as the economy continued to improve. These programs include: the refundable portions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which assist low- and moderate-income working families through the tax code; programs that provide cash payments to eligible individuals or households, including Supplemental Security Income for the elderly or disabled poor and unemployment insurance; various forms of in-kind assistance for low-income families and individuals, including SNAP (food stamps), school meals, low-income housing assistance, child care assistance, and assistance in meeting home energy bills; and various other programs such as those that aid abused and neglected children.
Interest on the national debt: The federal government must make regular interest payments on the money it has borrowed to finance past deficits — that is, on the national debt held by the public, which reached $12 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2013. In 2013, these interest payments claimed $221 billion, or about 6 percent of the budget.
Regardless of your position of lowering taxes or hiking taxes, you should be aware of exactly where your tax dollars go.
Stay connected with our group Freedom Frontline! We are holding an event in San Diego, California on April 15th, 2014 with Hugh Hewitt and Mark Larson. Come network with people in your area, have some food, and drinks!
Check out the event and RSVP HERE
Stay tuned for a post regarding where your State Tax Dollars go in CALIFORNIA!