Tuesday, April 20, 2010

where the money goes

When people are protesting taxes, as they always are, it's useful to remember just where those tax dollars go. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has two great charts showing federal and aggregate state expenditures. Note how much of the federal money goes for old people, sick people, and national security [2/3] and thus how little goes for all federal activities. With state governments, note how much goes for education [39%] and how little for public assistance [1%].

Where does the money come from? For the federal government, OMB has a table [see 2.2]that shows that this year 43.7% of receipts come from income taxes, 11.6% from corporate taxes, 36.4% from social insurance and retirement receipts, and 2.9% from excise taxes. All other federal receipts, including customs duties and estate taxes, amount to 5.4%.

I know that there's waste and inefficiency in government. Trouble is, it's not in a single, separate line item.

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