Tax Day is done, for most of us anyway. Uncle Sam thanks you. He now has a fresh influx of cash to keep his businesses running.
But just what is he doing with our tax payments? The White House has an answer.
The Obama administration has an online calculator on WhiteHouse.gov, where you can enter in your income tax amount and see which federal operations get your money, and how much.
I plugged in $25,000 to get an idea of how taxes are distributed.
Almost $6,873 of that payment is going toward health care. That’s 27.49 percent of the tax payment.
This isn’t the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. According to the White House, the health care budget segment of the calculator covers spending on Medicare Supplementary Medical Insurance and the prescription drug benefit, as well as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, food safety, disease control and other health care activities.
Our payroll taxes for Medicare also are excluded from this spending segment. Your annual Medicare and Social Security taxes are added separately to the calculator’s receipt of your tax dollars.
And military and veterans health care programs are accounted for under national defense and veterans benefits, respectively.
Speaking of national defense, it’s the second most expensive line item in the taxpayer calculator.
Almost 24 percent of our tax dollars go toward spending on military personnel, operations, procurement and other national defense activities. For the $25,000 tax bill in our example, that’s around $5,978.
The only other sector that takes up a double-digit percentage of our taxes is job and family security. A little more than 18 percent of our taxes falls into this category, which includes unemployment insurance, food assistance and certain tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, and other programs designed for income security. Of the $25,000 in taxes, $4,542.50 goes to this category.
What about the federal debt’s interest? That was a huge political rallying cry a few election cycles ago.
The White House calculator says 9.07 percent of our dollars go toward the accruing interest on the national debt. For this example’s purposes, that comes to almost $2,268.
The remaining areas where our taxes are spent, and the tax dollar percentages that go toward them, are: veterans benefits at 5.93 percent; education and job training at 3.59 percent; immigration, law enforcement and administration of justice at 2 percent; international affairs at 1.85 percent; natural resources, energy and environment at 1.64 percent; science, space and technology programs at 1.13 percent; agriculture at 0.97 percent; community, area and regional development at 0.43 percent; federal response to natural disasters at 0.39 percent; and the always fun catchall of additional government programs at 3.42 percent.
Uncle Sam’s balance sheet
Are you surprised by just where your tax dollars are being spent? More importantly, are you happy or upset about the distribution of the dollars?
Personally, I’d like to take some of the national defense dollars and send them to scientific endeavors, especially space programs. I mean, really, how stupid is it that we have to hitch rocket rides to the International Space Station from Russia?
If you’re not pleased with your taxpayer receipt, take it up with your members of Congress.
To see where your dollars could go in 2015, see Bankrate’s interactive story “What if you spent like the government?” It’s based on the White House’s 2015 budget proposal.
And if you got an extension to file your 2014 taxes, be sure to check the taxpayer receipt calculator when you’re done and see where your tax dollars will go.
More tax info from Bankrate
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Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book “The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes” and co-author of the e-book “Future Millionaires’ Guidebook.”