Taxes are one of the biggest budget items for most taxpayers, yet many have no idea what they’re getting for their money.
In 2016, as in recent years, Americans spent more on taxes than on groceries, clothing, and shelter combined. In fact, we worked until late April just to earn enough money to pay our taxes. So what do all those weeks of work get us?1
Fast Fact: In the Hole. In fiscal 2016, the federal government spent $587 billion more than it collected in revenue. The government borrows the funds it needs to cover this shortfall by selling Treasury securities and savings bonds.
Source: Congressional Budget Office, February 8, 2017
The accompanying chart breaks down the $3.95 trillion in federal spending for 2016 into major categories. By far, the biggest category is Social Security, which consumes one-fourth of the budget. Income security, which includes food assistance and unemployment compensation, takes another 13%. Defense and related items take 15% of the budget, and 28% goes to Medicare and health programs.2
Tip: Mid May. If the government had raised taxes enough to cover federal borrowing, we would have had to work until May 10 just to cover the tax bill.
Source: FoxNews.com, April 24, 2016
Are taxes one of your biggest budget items? Take steps to make sure you’re managing your overall tax bill. Please consult a tax professional for specific information regarding your individual situation.
Pieces of the Federal Pie
More than 60% of 2016 federal spending was used for Social Security, Medicare, defense, and related programs.
Source: Pew Research Center, 2017
- Tax Foundation, 2016
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2016
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