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How Your Tax Dollars Are Spent


In the movie Stranger Than Fiction, Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) paid only 78% of the income taxes she owed. During an audit, she tells off IRS Agent Harold Crick (Will Ferrell):

Listen, I'm a big supporter of fixing potholes and erecting swingsets and building shelters. I am more than happy to pay those taxes. I'm just not such a big fan of the percentage the government uses for national defense, corporate bailouts, and campaign discretionary funds. So I didn't pay those taxes.

So how does the federal government actually spend your income tax dollars?

Drew Desilver with the Pew Research Center reminds us that former US Treasury official Peter Fisher once described the federal government as "a gigantic insurance company," albeit one with "a sideline business in national defense and homeland security."

That's a great description and this Pew Research chart of 2016 federal spending proves the point.

Source: What Does the Federal Government Spend Your Tax Dollars On? (PewResearch.org, April 4, 2017)