Thu Apr 12th, 2007 at 03:47:04 PM EST
This is an interesting overview of how US tax dollars are spent--taxes collected at the Federal, not state, level, such as income tax, capital gains, social security, medicare, etc.
Most of the spending is for commitments that are already made:
About 70 percent of the annual budget pays for commitments already incurred -- everything from Social Security benefits to interest on the national debt. Neither President Bush nor Congress has much say over that.
The social safety net portion of the budget has grown over the years.
In fact, all government payments to individuals amount to about 58 percent of the budget. That's twice the share of the budget such payments claimed 40 years ago. And the percentage continues to climb -- giving those pushing reform of such entitlement programs a powerful argument.
Interest of the national debt has increased over the Bush presidency, surprise, surprise,
Interest on the debt claims about 10 percent of the budget. When President Bush took office, the national debt was $5.6 trillion, but deficits have pushed that number closer to $9 trillion today.
The military spending is the largest portion of what's left after commited spending.
The military gets the biggest piece of what's left -- the 30 percent of the budget called discretionary spending because it's the part of the budget that Congress and the White House can control from year to year.
You might think a fifth of the federal government's total spending is a lot to put into defense. But in comparison to some earlier periods in our country's history, it's actually a smaller share. During President Ronald Reagan's defense buildup, the military claimed 26 percent of the budget. And at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968, 46 cents of every tax dollar Americans paid was for defense.
The US will spend more than it collects
This year, the federal government will spend about $200 billion more than it will take in. Next year, the deficit will run about $300 billion. Coincidentally, that's just about the same amount that the government figures it's being stiffed by individuals and companies who don't pay all the taxes they owe, either by intent or by error.
Assuming roughly a $12 trillion US economy, these deficits represent 1.7% and 2.5%, both under the 3% maximum used by the EU as a goal.