How the Feds spend your tax money

The tax filing deadline is behind us. Some of you rushed to get your return filed. Some cut those checks. And, maybe wondered, Where does this money go anyway? 

We pay taxes to pay for our way of life in the United States. We may not always agree on what way of life we want to pay for, but we are all supposed to chip in. 

All year long, with every paycheck, the IRS reports the average tax rate for 2020 was 13.6 percent. That means more than 13 percent of your paycheck goes back to the government.

But where is that money going? It goes to farmers; it goes to defense; it goes to the elderly. It goes all over the place. 

Last year, according to federal figures, the government collected since October, just more than $2 trillion. For those keeping track, that’s down three percent from the year before. 

That’s a lot of money. Here’s where it goes: The top 10 agencies that get federal funding are the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security, Treasury, Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Agriculture

Twenty-six percent of our tax dollars go to Health and Human Services. Note there are eight different federal agencies under the very big umbrella. 

To break it down — it’s Medicare and Medicaid, Administration for Children and Families, and Substance Use and Mental Health Administration, as well as agencies like NIH, CDC, and FDA

That’s a lot under one banner. 

Then the next biggest group is social security beneficiaries. And that is also a lot of things: 97 percent of older people  receive or will receive this benefit. It’s the biggest source of retirement funding for most Americans. But it’s also for children. Federal records indicate it keeps out of poverty children with deceases parents and the disabled. 

But there are also state and local taxes we pay. Those dollars go for police, fire, libraries, road maintenance, education and health. When people say, What do my taxes pay for? Well, when you get up in the morning, the clean water you drink, the highway you take to work, the food you are eating all day, every part of our day comes in contact with our tax dollars.