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Do You Know Where Your Tax Dollars Go?

By Susan Eymann, MS04 May 2018

Most of us have recently filled out and paid our income taxes. The average income tax payment is about $10,000. But did you know that Medicaid and Medicare combined are one of the top expenditures from that average $10,000 we pay in tax dollars?tax-dollars

Almost 30% of our income taxes go to payment for Medicare and Medicaid. In dollar amounts, that is $2,981, of which $1,289 goes to Medicaid and the other $1,145 goes to Medicare. This is in addition to the money taken from our paychecks for the Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid Trust Funds.

Health costs represent just a couple of dollars less than that spent by our largest federal budget line item, the military—which claims $2,983 of every $10,000 in income taxes.

Next in line is interest on our national debt, with $1,420 (14%) from every $10,000 in taxes collected. Dollars for housing assistance and food—including food stamps and disaster relief/insurance—as well as labor are similar to the amount paid on the national debt, claiming 13% ($1,305) of our tax dollars.

In contrast, spending on science and education is a mere one-half of one percent, or $504. That includes 50 cents allotted to the National Endowment for the Arts; 62 cents to NASA; and 77 cents to elementary and secondary education.

Finally, Land and Energy—which includes agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency and National Parks—glean less than one/fourth of one percent, or $201, from each $10,000 of income taxes collected.

To sum it up, $10,000 in income taxes is divided as follows:

  1. Military ($2,983)
  2. Health ($2,981)
  3. Interest on Debt ($1,420)
  4. Housing, Food, Labor ($1,305)
  5. Governance, Law, Commerce ($606)
  6. Science and Education ($504)
  7. Land and Energy ($201)

Reference: Gleaned from GEICO Coinage: an infographic by Emily Barone and Lon Tweeten featured in Time magazine.

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