Friday Follow-Up: What Do My Taxes Go For?

I thought we had a good, if a bit unfocused, meeting on endangered species last night.  We had seventeen people, including Dool (forgive spelling?), George, Moss, and Linda.  It was nice to have a topic that got some of us talking a lot who sometimes don’t.  I have no follow-up.  But, since people seemed interested in the “taxpayer receipt” idea I mentioned, and in light of the latest poll showing that Americans have little idea what their tax money is spent on, here’s more info.

The idea that every taxpayer should get a “receipt” in the mail showing them what their money paid for was proposed by a think tank called The Third Way.  Here’s a 4-pager explaining the idea.   Your Federal Tax Receipt is quite simple.  Just type in the amount of federal taxes you pay, or an estimate, and it immediately calculates what it went for, based on which activities comprise which shares of federal spending.  EXAMPLE:  If you paid $10,000 in federal taxes (a nice round number to show percentages easily) you contributed about $2,050 to Social Security, $2,020 to national defense (inc. $330 to Iraq and Afghan war operations) $1,300 to Medicare, $900 to low-income assistance, etc.  Click on each label (“National Defense”) and it breaks it down further.

You can do the same thing  here for your CA taxes paid (just enter the amount you paid in the box at the very bottom of the page).

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One response

  1. I just got one of these in the mail detailing what the union fees I have to pay go towards. At least they’re open about it.

    Looking forward to discussing globalization next week.

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