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%).
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%).
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