What Does the Federal Government Spend Your Tax Money On?

A new taxpayer receipt feature on the White House Web site provides the answers.

Monday is an informal holiday of sorts as it's the annual day that taxes are due (usually it's on April 15, but this year there was an extension since that date fell on a Friday).

It's not a day that people celebrate, except by grumbling at the government, the lines at the post office, or occasionally by holding a political rally of some sort.

If it's any consolation to those who feel their tax money is not being well spent, at least this year the government is at least providing some good insight into where the money is going: the White House's website this year has a taxpayer receipt program where you can enter your tax payments and find out roughly how much you've contributed to what programs.

For those who don't feel like fishing out their own personal data, below we've provided what a typical Arcadia family might pay. 

For taxpayers of every income, the percentage spent on the income tax categories will be the same, but it should be noted that the amount spent on Social Security and Medicare versus the amount spent on income taxes can vary greatly for taxpayers depending on their income level. 

Though as with everywhere else, Arcadia residents have vastly different incomes, , meaning half have higher incomes, and half have lower.  So in this example, we're looking at an average tax bill for a household with an annual income of $80,000 and two children. 

That household would pay a total of $9,983, of which $4,960 would go to Social Security taxes, $1,160 would go to Medicare taxes, and $3863 would go to income tax.  The below table breaks down how the $3863 that goes to income tax is split up.

Category Percent of income spent Dollars spent National Defense 26.3 $1015.97 Health Care 24.3 $938.71 Job and Family Security 21.9 $846 Net Interest 7.4 $285.86 Education and Job Training 4.8 $185.42 Veterans' Benefits 4.1 $158.38 Other Government Programs 2.4 $92.71 Natural Resources, Energy, and Environment 2.1 $81.12 Immigration, Law Enforcement, and Administration of Justice 2 $77.26 International Affairs 1.7 $65.67 Science, Space, and Technology Programs 1.2 $46.36 Agriculture 0.8 $30.90 Community, Area, and Regional Development 0.5 $19.32 Response to Natural Disasters 0.4 $15.45

On the White House page, some of the above categories are broken down into greater detail, allowing you to view subcategories.


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