Your 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt
From the White House:
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama promised that this year, for the first time ever, American taxpayers would be able to go online and see exactly how their federal tax dollars are spent. Just enter a few pieces of information about your taxes, and the taxpayer receipt will give you a breakdown of how your tax dollars are spent on priorities like education, veterans benefits, or health care.
It’s not complete, according to the Christian Science Monitor. For example:
To start, by showing how much of your tax payment goes to each government program, the calculator leaves out a huge piece of the story: Taxes pay for only about two-thirds of federal spending. The rest is borrowed.
Another curious choice: While the tool asks how much you pay in Social Security and Medicare taxes, it treats these programs in an overly simplistic way. For instance, it implies your Medicare payroll tax pays for all of Part A hospital insurance and your income taxes pay for all of Parts B and D (services such doctor visits and drug coverage). But this ignores all of the financing complexities of Medicare, including that the program is funded through a mix of income taxes, payroll taxes, state contributions, and premiums.
Still, it’s an interesting idea. If people actually had a tangible sense of where their tax money goes, they might be more inclined to learn more about what we’re spending and why.