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Uncle Sam’s Budget – 2007

By JLP | April 3, 2008

There’s an interesting (if wordy) article on MSNBC that is aptly called How The Government Spends Your Taxes.

Many of you have already filed your tax returns, meticulously tallying up the often astounding amount that you have sent off to Uncle Sam. Just what are you getting in return? Here’s a breakdown of where the roughly 4.1 trillion dollars collected in 2007 went (according to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis).

“Income Security” (22%)
This includes Social Security (11.5%), along with other social services like welfare (4.6%), disability payments (3.5%) and unemployment insurance (.7%).

Health care (20.3%)
This includes Medicaid and Medicare.

Security & Defense (almost 20%)
This includes national defense (13.2%), along with spending on “public order and safety” (6.5%), which includs police (2.7%), prisons (1.8%), courts (1.2%) and fighting fires (.8%).

Education (15.8%)
Most of this went to pay for elementary and secondary schools (11.7%). Much of the rest helped pay for college (2.8%). About .2% went to pay for public libraries.

“General Public Service” (14%),
This is the cost of running the government itself, including state and local governments. The largest portion of this went to paying interest on money borrowed (9%). Salaries and expenses for the executive and legislative branches (2%) and the cost of collecting taxes (1%).

Misc (8%)
Highways (2.5%), agriculture (.8%), air transport (.4%), air and water quality (.7%), the space program (.3%), community service (1.0%), and recreation and culture (.7%).

These figures don’t altogether surprise me much, though one thing that did jump out is that the government’s debt payments total less than 10% of its budget. That’s much less than I would have thought, considering all the media hype about our “looming deficit.” 10% seems pretty manageable, although of course in real dollars that is still a tremendous amount of money that could be going towards our education system and other beneficial programs.

Also, national defense only came in at 13%?? After all the talk of money wasted in Iraq? That’s a pleasant surprise for me as well (though I suppose a lot of that could have been put on Uncle Sam’s credit card, otherwise known as the “trillion dollar deficit”).

What do you think? So any categories strike you as woefully underfunded – or overfunded?

More from Meg at The World of Wealth

Topics: Taxes | 11 Comments »


11 Responses to “Uncle Sam’s Budget – 2007”

  1. Dave Says:
    April 3rd, 2008 at 10:23 am

    I’m pretty sure that spending on the war in Iraq is “off budget,” so it probably is not included in those figures. If only I could figure out how to get some of my spending “off budget!”

  2. ciwood Says:
    April 3rd, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Where is the payment for interest on the national debt?????

  3. Andy Says:
    April 3rd, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Yes, the money spent on the war in Iraq/Afghanistan isn’t included in the defense spending. I believe it’s around 5% extra on top of the budget (or it was when I last checked).

  4. Meg Says:
    April 3rd, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Ciwood – under “General Public Service” the largest line item is paying interest on money borrowed (9% of the total budget).

  5. PBJ Says:
    April 3rd, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    There might have been $4.1 trillion spent but there sure as hell wasn’t $4.1 trillion collected …

  6. TIL Says:
    April 3rd, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Dave hit the nail on the head, nearly all the Iraq and Afghanistan spending has been off the books and would not be included, which is ridiculous and a major flaw.

    I wonder if the military/intelligence “black” projects were included under “Security & Defense” of if they are just not included.

  7. Emily Says:
    April 3rd, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    ITS a budget, not reality. Haven’t we all had a hard time “sticking to a budget”. I also wonder how much debt we are paying down? The deficite grows every year. 11% this year could be 50% 30 years from now.

  8. Meg Says:
    April 3rd, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    According to the article, this is what was actually SPENT ($4.1 trillion) in 2007, though it doesn’t specify how that differs from what was taken in.

    I don’t know about “black” projects or how (or if) things can be “off budget,” but this is a tally of what was spent, in hindsight, in fiscal year 2007 (which I believe actually runs from Oct 06 to Oct 07…).

  9. Joe Says:
    April 4th, 2008 at 9:46 am

    I’d like to know how much of the budget is mandated vs. discretionary. Iraq is a lightening rod that attracts a lot of anger over government spending, but I’d bet it’s far smaller than what the government is mandated to spend on domestic programs…

  10. TheMightyQuinn Says:
    April 4th, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Imagine if congress only spent what the constitution permitted! That would eliminate three of the top four expense groups!

  11. lorax Says:
    April 5th, 2008 at 9:44 am

    @TheMightyQuinn – you might want to read
    http://www.ssa.gov/history/court.html. This matter has been decided.

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