You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Where Do Your Tax Dollars Go?

In honor of Tax Day tomorrow, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has put together a helpful brief reminding us that, as it turns out, the federal government doesn't spend all our hard-earned dollars on a bunch of bridges to nowhere in Alaska. About two-thirds of the federal budget goes to defense, Social Security, and health care. The rest of it goes to interest on the national debt, safety-net programs for the very poor (the Earned Income Tax Credit, housing and heating assistance, food stamps, and so forth), and a handful of other areas like veterans' benefits, scientific research, education, and transportation. This isn't to say that pork-barrel spending isn't an abomination (it is) or that entitlement programs shouldn't be means-tested (they should). But it's always important to keep in mind that when conservatives--like, for instance, a certain senator from Arizona--suggest that we can get our fiscal house in order by cutting huge chunks of generic wasteful spending without confronting any real tradeoffs, they're either ignorant or they're lying.

--Josh Patashnik