Where Your Tax Money Goes

Yes, folks, it’s Tax Day in America. Some taxpayers might have received refunds and are spending them on vacation homes, boats, or funding some silly Internet start-up. Some, like me, have put off until today to pay the government treasuries in Washington and Albany. Either way, unless you filed for an extension, the tax year known as 2013 is over. Congratulations, you made it!

Now that the tax year is finished, let’s reflect on what we’re going to do with all that money.

To get in the Tax Day spirit, the White House set up a web widget to show you how your money is spent. Enter some of your tax data and the tool will show you where your Social security, Medicare, and income taxes go. 

Take a minute to fill it out. I’ll wait right here until you’re done.

I bet you most of your income tax money goes to war. How did I know? Lucky guess…

I bet you most of your income tax money goes to war. How did I know? Lucky guess…

In my case, defense and health care each get about $1,700 of my taxes. However, only $112 of it went to elementary, secondary and vocation education, and a little more than $75 went to science, space, and technology programs. For whatever reason, a negative amount of my federal tax money, $-1.35, went to financial aid for college students. This must be my share of any tax credits or deductions that I’ve been milking for almost of my entire adult life, which is why I get it back.

This breakdown seemed especially poignant after finding a U-Matic tape of an independent news-documentary television series from the 1990s, titled The ’90s. In trying to identify the tape, I searched the web for the series and came across an especially timely segment about persons who refuse to pay taxes that fund war. The segment has been digitized and available on YouTube.

One person in the segment says that half of tax revenue goes to war. Do you think they would feel differently if I told them it was only a quarter? Probably not.

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