Recently, ONE, a nonprofit group that fights global poverty, unveiled an interactive tool that enables users to see how much they pay in taxes, and where that money goes. Here it is:
According to ONE, a single taxpayer, making the average household income of $49,445, pays $8,486 in taxes before exemptions. Of that, the biggest chunk, over $1,740, goes to Social Security and $1,082 goes to Medicare. The other big expenditures are similarly unsurprising: defense spending eats up $1,601 and unemployment insurance eats up $1,295.
Some other expenses are a bit more shocking. For example, almost 6% of taxes go to pay interest on America's debt, while less than 10% goes to health care spending. As for the country's embattled foreign aid allocations, they account for a minuscule 0.95% of all federal spending.
What about the classic budget villains, like the education system, food assistance programs, and school lunches? Well, on ONE's tax tool, these -- along with hundreds of other programs covering everything from insurance for children to rental assistance to the cost of printing currency -- are included in "Other," a catchall that totals just over 16% of the budget. Put in context, this means that the combined price of most government programs costs less than the defense budget or Social Security, and just a few percentage points more than Medicare.
Click the calculator below to see just where your tax dollars are going this year.
Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.