Seniors: Where Does Our Tax Money Go?

Oct 2nd, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Finances

Senior citizens across the country have complained for most of our adult lives that we don’t know where our tax money really goes. We hear percentages, we see charts, we read explanations, and we still are not sure how much is spent on things we don’t like versus how much is spent on what we are more eager to support.

A group based in Washington DC called Third Way suggests a solution: Taxpapers should get a receipt for the tax money they pay. Just like at WalMart. You get an itemized receipt for each


item you purchase. We should get an itemized receipt for each program/service our tax money supports. Third Way thinks we would be in for a big surprise. The group recently published a list of where a taxpayers money goes if she/he earned $34,140 and paid $5400 in federal income tax and FICA. With thanks to Third Way, their list of What You Paid For is included here:

Taxpayer Receipt 

Fifty-two and a half percent of taxpayer’s money in this example goes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Interest on National Debt and the Military (combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Military personnel and Veteran’s Benefits). The rest is divided in startlingly small amounts among a variety of services and programs all the way from Military Retirement Benefits to Funding for the Arts.

Most of us seniors consider our Social Security tax an investment in our retirement future; we depend on that check every month to help pay our expenses. And Medicare is a God-send for most of us who would be unable to pay for our medical care without that benefit. The same goes for Medicaid, a program mostly for children in poverty who would otherwise not have medical care. That’s 37.99% of the total tax bill. US citizens, with a heavy emphasis on senior citizens, reap the benefits of almost 38% of the tax bill.

The entire paper written by Third Way staff can be read on this link.  Perhaps some of us will re-think our complaints about taxes after digesting this information.



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  1. [...] Government spending takes money out of the economy. Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on “welfare” and “foreign aid” when that is only a small part of the government’s budget.  Take a second look at the article SCJ published on where your tax money goes.  [...]

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