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How Uncle Sam is spending our taxes in FY 2018-2019

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Feeling pretty good today, are you? You got your taxes done and to the Internal Revenue Service on Tax Day.

Now you can shift from complaining about doing your taxes to complaining about how they are spent.

Here, direct from the U.S. Treasury is a graphic look at where our tax dollars went in fiscal year 2018, which ended Sept. 30, 2018.

US federal spending through FY2018_US Treasury data
Source: U.S. Treasury final monthly statement for fiscal year 2018
Click graph for a larger image


In addition to this graphic, the 36-page statement includes details on Uncle Sam's expenditures, as well as the scoop on the $779 billion federal deficit.

2019's accounts: OK, that was last fiscal year. What about the current one?

Brian Riedl, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative nonprofit based in, where else, New York City, takes a more personal crack at those figures in an article for Economics 21.

"This year, Washington will spend a staggering $35,148 per household," writes Riedl.

His calculations show that the per household amounts this fiscal year will go toward:

Based on national averages, the more than $35,000 per household in federal spending for 2019 includes:

  • $13,178 on Social Security and Medicare,

  • $6,483 on anti-poverty programs,

  • Uncle Sam hat with money in it$5,312 on defense,

  • $3,054 on interest on the national debt,

  • $1,556 on veterans' benefits,

  • $1,154 on federal employee retirement benefits,

  • $876 on education,

  • $557 on justice administration,

  • $533 on health research and regulation,

  • $493 on highways and mass transit,

  • $422 on international affairs, and

  • $1,530 on all other federal programs.

Check out Riedl's piece for more on each of these federal expenditure areas.

Not enough taxes: But wait, there's more. And it's not good.

That per household spending by Uncle Sam isn't being covered by taxes.

The federal government this fiscal year is only collecting $26,677 per household in taxes, which comes up $8,471 short per household when it comes to offsetting the more than $35 grand spent on each household.

That, of course, is going to add to the national debt. Riedl's figures say it will come to $177,000 per household.

Finally, the worse news.

As you've likely figured out yourself by now, Riedl notes that, "Unless spending is reined in, tax increases must eventually result."

Hmmm. Maybe our tax bills we settled up this week weren't so bad after all.

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