Thanks to an organization called Third Way, American taxpayers can get a good, detailed look at how much of a typical tax bill is destined for any particular government program. Third Way is a progressive think-tank, and they studied the federal budget to provide an itemized tax receipt for the typical taxpayer.
Here is their methodology:
The total amount of federal spending is the denominator and the amount of money spent on a particular program is the numerator. The resulting quotient is the percentage of all federal spending that goes to that program. For example, the amount of money spent on Pell Grants in fiscal year 2009 was $19.38 billion, which is divided by total federal spending of $3.518 trillion. This means that 0.55% of all federal spending went to Pell Grants. Multiply this number by the amount a taxpayer paid in taxes (in this case $5,400) and that means this person contributed $29.75 to Pell Grants.
Based on their research, here is a calculator that will help you determine how much you are contributing to these programs. The calculator defaults to a total tax payment of $5,400, which was used by the study. You can enter your own total tax payment from line 60 on the 2009 version of the federal income tax return (1040) IRS tax form.
Enter your total tax bill (no dollar signs or commas):
|Interest on the National Debt||$287.03|
|Combat Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan||$229.17|
|Health care research (NIH)||$46.54|
|Education Funding for Low Income K-12 Students||$38.17|
|Military Retirement Benefits||$32.60|
|Pell Grants for Low Income College Students||$29.75|
|NASA Space Program||$28.09|
|Internal Revenue Service||$17.69|
|Environmental Clean Up (EPA)||$11.67|
|Drug Enforcement Agency||$3.14|
|Funding for the Arts||$0.24|
|Salaries and benefits for members of Congress||$0.19|
Note that the amounts above do not add up to 100%. This is only a selection of some of the more interesting categories. The report from Third Way explains more.
Updated October 24, 2010 and originally published October 21, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.