How much of your taxes went to “Welfare”?

Posted on April 16, 2011

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Just how much comes out of your pocket to support U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan? What’s your slice of the interest on the national debt? How are you actually paying to fund Medicare and Social Security, or to support foreign aid, or NASA, or the FBI?

This is “tax weekend” in the United States – with Tax Day extended to Monday (the 18th) because of Washington politicking. So while the petty squabbling, the lies about “$38.5 Billion cut from government spending” (the FACTS show that they only cut 1 percent of that claim – about $352 Million) — it’s surprising just how little most taxpayers know about where their money goes, beyond the lies and spin told to them by television bobbleheads.

The simple truth is most of us haven’t got the slightest clue as to how much we each spend personally on government services like the military, funding for foreign embassies, or National Public Radio. We, collectively, have even less of a clue about how the government divvies up the money we send him every year. This intentional obfuscation by partisan pundits and political candidates (i.e., professional liars) makes it ever harder to understand the real financial miasma in which our country now finds itself.

Well, like the carney barker said, “I’m here ta help ya.”

To help U.S. taxpayers figure things out, the White House website offers a new “taxpayer receipt” calculator that allows you to see exactly where the tax dollars coming out of your wallet go. Plug the amount you paid in federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax (from that W2 sitting right there next to your keyboard) into the interactive calculator and the resulting receipt will show you — to the penny — just what you paid for U.S. troops overseas, how much you paid into Unemployment, what you paid for veterans’ health care, and a lot of detailed payments you probably never even guessed you’d been paying.

What you see will surprise you, some pleasantly, some … not so much.  For example, let’s pick a round number like $100,000 (well below what is considered “rich” by the likes of John McCain who says “rich” is $5 million a year or more).

Right off the top is 28.6 percent – or $6,327.00 – for Social Security.

The next biggest chunk — some 26.4 percent – or $3,770.11 — goes to Defense (and you’ll want to expand that selection to see the intentionally vaguely named funding sections you’re paying into, such as “Defense-related FBI activities and additional national defense”). Then there’s 21.9% ($3,139.36) for “Job and Family Security. Did you know you’re paying roughly 501.73 a year to fund the Earned income Credit (which you don’t qualify for) and for the Making Work Pay credit (which maxxes out at $400)?

The list goes on, and it’s very, very informative. So much so, that the Internal Revenue Service is implementing this “Taxpayer Receipt” to roll out with W2s at the end of 2011 for next year’s tax season.

And just in case you weren’t furious enough about your taxes already … did you know that the government gets 7.4 percent interest on your money all year, while the bank you bailed out is paying you 1 percent? Look at the last entry in your tax receipt after you calculate.

It will be interesting to see what cold, hard, calculated factual numbers do to the bloated claims and distortions about your taxes from politicians and the radio and television spin-meisters during the campaign for the 2012 presidency.

(Illustration courtesy of Bill Rapo, The Washington Post)
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