Have you ever wondered exactly where all your tax dollars go and/or are spent? There are several websites which try their best to break down the facts for you, and I even mentioned one called Death and Taxes here on My Two Dollars back in 2006. (It is no longer a live site, however.) But now there is one officially sponsored by the U.S. government called the 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt, which is hosted on the website of the White House.
President Obama promised last year that Americans could go online and see how their federal tax dollars are spent starting in 2010, and this website is a result of this promise that he made. All you have to do is enter some information about the taxes that you paid for the year and the 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt will give you a breakdown of what programs your tax dollars went towards.
By entering in the Social Security Tax, the Medicare Tax, and the Income Tax numbers from your tax forms, the website calculates a receipt for you, showing you what percentage of your tax payment went to different government programs. These include the topics of National Defense, Health Care, Veterans Benefits, International Affairs, Agriculture, and a bunch of other categories that may be of interest to you depending on your situation. I entered some of my tax numbers only to find out that 26.3% of the taxes I paid for go straight to the military and national defense. I always knew that percentage was high but I didn’t realize it was a full 1/4 of all the taxes I pay each year! I was also disheartened to see that over 24% of my taxes go towards health care, a product which I can’t even get for myself because of a past melanoma which renders me “uninsurable” by the private insurance companies in this country. At the bottom of the receipt you can see how all the percentages in each section add up to the total income and payroll taxes which you paid for the tax year.
Whether you agree or not with how our government spends your tax dollars, it’s good to be able to finally see a breakdown of exactly how much goes into which programs that the government provides/is involved in. This is because now that you know these details there is absolutely no excuse for not working to change or alter anything you disagree with. Knowledge is power, especially when it’s your tax dollars being spent! Don’t like that so much money goes towards military uses? Work with some peaceful organizations to educate people about the horrors of war or how the military spends its money. Think the education of our kids should be a higher priority than it currently is? Join groups focused on changing the education system in this country for the better. While a lot (yes, even this liberal thinks so) of tax money is certainly wasted by our government (by members of both parties), a functioning society needs its citizens to pay some taxes in order to run efficiently and properly. If you don’t like how something is being done, it’s your job and duty to work towards changing it. In a democracy you are supposed to voice your concerns, and I hope that breakdowns like this Taxpayer Receipt will encourage more citizens to speak up and do the work necessary to make this as good as it can be.
And PLEASE – let’s leave any issues/attacks related to the Office of President off this post. You can comment about any issues you have with what your tax dollars are spent on, but in reality every President and every Congress pretty much spends the money the same way, give or take a little bit every 4 to 8 years. It’s not necessarily a “party” issue, but a “government” issue. I would love to hear your thoughts about this subject, but let’s keep it civil. Thank you.