Monday, April 14, 2008

And It's Two, Three, Four, What Are You Paying For?

I came across this little website that outlines what the average family pays in taxes. Then it takes it to the next level and itemizes. I think you will be surprised at what we are shelling out on a per person basis for services that are wasteful or even unaccounted for. The site is linked in the title. Below is a tidbit.
"TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Jim Kessler, VP for Policy and Tess Stovall, Policy Advisor
RE: What You Paid For

If you wrote a check for more than $13,000, you would want to know exactly

what you were buying. As is it turns out, $13,000 is about what the typical working
age taxpayer paid to the federal government in 2007. That’s a lot of money for
anyone, but for a taxpayer earning about $64,000, that’s one-fifth of all earnings.
Yet nearly all taxpayers have absolutely no idea how that money is spent. At best,
they may see a pie chart which shows in broad categories how the federal
government spends its $2.9 trillion budget.

This document—essentially a receipt—shows exactly what the typical working

age taxpaying household gets for their money in dollars and cents. The question
taxpayers and policy makers should ask is “Are you satisfied?” Do you think
spending priorities should change or stay the same? Do you think you’re getting
what you and the country deserve for your payment?

What You Paid For
An Itemized Receipt for the Typical Taxpayer

The typical working age household (a household led by a person between the
ages of 25 and 59) earned approximately $63,960 and paid $13,112 in federal
income and payroll taxes in 2007.* Below is a sample of exactly what that $13,112
paid for. See our attached spreadsheet for far greater detail.
• Social Security: $ 2,662.94
• Interest Payment on National Debt: $ 1,085.29
• War in Iraq: $ 593.48
• War in Afghanistan: $ 159.82
• All other Defense: $ 2,008.01
• Medicare: $ 1,697.96
• Veterans Benefits and Health Care: $ 355.03

* The income figures are derived from a Third Way analysis of the March 2007 Current Population Survey of household finances for 2006 and adjusted slightly upward to incorporate flat, inflation adjusted 2007 income gains. The tax burden is based upon the “The Distribution of Tax Cuts: Updated Projection: 2006,” from the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute which shows that a filer with this income should expect to pay 20.5% of their income in federal income and payrolltaxes (not including the employer’s share)...."

"• Health care research (NIH): $ 132.70
• Aid to the public schools (No Child Left Behind): $ 107.55
• National Parks $ 12.25
• Roads and Bridges $ 77.15
• Renewable Energy Research $ 6.67
• International AIDS prevention $ 14.87
• The Space Program (NASA) $ 74.53
• Health Care of Low Income Families (Medicaid): $ 872.92
• Border Security Fencing $ .13
• Income Assistance for the Disabled (SSI): $ 164.95
• Agriculture Subsidies $ 98.80
• Environmental Protection (EPA) $ 34.50
• Heating Assistance for Low Income Families: $ 9.90
• School Lunch/Breakfast Program: $ 46.09
• FBI, DEA, and ATF: $ 41.46
• Pell Grants for Low Income College Students: $ 62.55
• The Post Office: $ 2.95
• Consumer Product Safety Commission: $ .29
• Members of Congress and Staff: $ 8.44
• The President and White House Staff: $ .18
• The IRS $ 48.53
• Pork Barrel Projects: $ 60.45
• CIA: $ ???.??+

+ If we told you; we’d have to kill you. All sources for program spending come from the agency
budgets submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for Fiscal Year 2009 with the exception of the following: War in Iraq and Afghanistan spending comes from the Congressional Research Service;earmarks/pork projects comes from Citizens Against Government Waste. All figures relate to fiscal year 2007 spending.

Why do we use “working age households” for this analysis? Working age households—households headed by people between the age of 25–59—represent approximately two-thirds of the adult population. Many younger filers (teenagers and the like) skew the median income level lower and many file separately so that they can get a lower tax rate than their parents. Old filers, particularly seniors, get most of their money through benefit transfers like Social Security, or other sources like pensions andinvestments. This income is taxed very differently than work income.

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