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Tuesday, June 27, 2006 

Your Tax Dollars And How They Are Spent

Because I was curious as to what we, as a nation, actually spend Joe Taxpayer’s money on, I went to the US Office of Management and Budget and pulled the outlays report. Outlays, for those of you that don’t know are defined by the US Senate as:

“Outlays are payments made (generally through the issuance of checks or disbursement of cash) to liquidate obligations. Outlays during a fiscal year may be for payment of obligations incurred in prior years or in the same year.”

The numbers are all in millions of dollars and all cover actual overlays in FY 2004

Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs:
$515,678 to cover:

Military Personnel
Operation and Maintenance
Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation
Military Construction
Family Housing
Income security for veterans
Veteran’s education, training, and rehabilitation
Hospital and medical care for veterans
Veterans housing

Community and regional development, Education, training, employment, and social services, Health, Medicare, Income security, Social security
$1,441,621 to cover:

Community development
Area and regional development
Disaster relief and insurance
Total, Community and regional development
Elementary, secondary, and vocational education
Higher education
Research and general education aids
Training and employment
Social services
Health care services
Health research and training
Consumer and occupational health and safety
General retirement and disability insurance (excluding social security)
Federal employee retirement and disability
Unemployment compensation
Housing assistance
Food and nutrition assistance

International affairs, General science, space and technology, Energy, Natural resources and environment, Transportation, Administration of justice, General government
$206,104 to cover

Legislative functions
Executive direction and management
Central fiscal operations
General property and records management
Central personnel management
General purpose fiscal assistance
Deductions for offsetting receipts
Ground transportation
Air transportation
Water transportation
Farm income stabilization
Agricultural research and services
Water resources
Conservation and land management
Recreational resources
Pollution control and abatement
***Energy supply*** (this one actually made the US some money!)
Energy conservation
Emergency energy preparedness
Energy information, policy, and regulation
International development and humanitarian assistance
International security assistance
Conduct of foreign affairs
Foreign information and exchange activities
International financial programs
General science, space and technology:
General science and basic research
Space flight, research, and supporting activities

None of this includes the money paid out to interest on federal bonds and other investment obligations of the government, but for fun’s sake we’re going to throw some percentages around:

Total money spent out (in this list): $2,163,403 million dollars, also known as 2.2 trillion dollars. Wow!

Of that total, the military makes up 24% of total money spent, the federal government itself is 10% and social programs make up the other 66%

Of those social programs, the biggest spenders are Medicare at $269,360, Income security (worker’s comp, unemployment…) at $332,837, and Social security at $495,548. These along are a combined 51% of the money spent by the US government (in this sample)

Now, we could look at this and be just amazed how much we spend on social services, or we could do another number check and go with rough percentages of dollars spent per person.

The current rough average (from the CIA fact book) of the United States’ population is 298,444,215. The number of military personnel is 2,571,454. There is no real estimate of how many folks work for the Federal government, so we wont even try. Some estimates have it has high as 17 million, but that includes contractors and military, and other functionaries.

So, percentage wise, that means that the military spends, on average $200,000 per year, per person (yes, this includes equipment and all that, but it is supporting the military personnel, so it’s getting lumped together).

The Federal government is spending roughly $4830 per year, per person on social services.

Wait a minute! That means that while on average, the Government’s military spending is only 35% of it’s social program’s spending… and less than a quarter of its total spending; per person the US Government is spending roughly 97% MORE on its military personnel than it does on the average citizen.

Draw your own conclusions; I’m not sharing mine yet.