Where Do Your Federal Income Taxes Go?

Michael Teague |

April 15 is a most infamous day, because it's that day of the year on which Americans are required to officially give up a chunk of their hard-earned money to Uncle Sam, the gub’mint, or whatever one chooses to call it.

For many on Main Street, and certainly for many on Wall Street as well, today marks one of the Federal government’s most outrageous and ritual abuses of power, as they nonchalantly dip their collective hand into your wallet, take your hard-earned money, and spend it on a bunch of stuff that you may or may not approve of.

Furthermore, the government doesn’t even bother to give you a receipt that tells you where all of your money goes. It’s one of those “across-the-aisle” issues whose potential to bring Americans of all political persuasions together has yet to really be exploited.

And it is perhaps with this in mind that the National Priorities Project has put together a handy tax receipt calculator that can be used by anyone to see just how much of their federal income tax bill goes to which part of the US economy. The NPP is a 30-year old organization that describes its mission as making “our complex federal budget transparent and accessible so people can exercise their right and responsibility to oversee and influence how their tax dollars are spent.”

It’s a very useful tool that sheds all kinds of light on what usually passes for “debate” about the federal budget, and the folks at NPP also offer a pretty thorough explanation of their methodology, which would seem to indicate that they are not pulling any punches.

Spoiler alert: even as the US has for all intents and purposes ended the disastrous blunder that was the invasion/occupation of Iraq, and winds down its involvement in Afghanistan, the overwhelming majority of your income taxes get funneled straight in to the national security establishment.

They’ve also got a handy on-the-dollar infographic that can be seen here.


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