United States’ Taxes, Spending, Graphs, and No Pie Charts

April 15th, the IRS’ tax filling deadline, is right around the corner regardless of whether or not you straight up love taxation. With the looming government-sponsored-khaki-bag-with-a-superimposed-$-on-it (©Wondergressive 2013), one cannot help but wonder what all of our money is spent on? Or better yet: Where does the United States’ government say that it goes?

Lets begin, continue, finish, and be confused with the numbers. As 2013 taxes have yet to be collected, I’ll be examining the collected tax statistics for 2011. From the 2011 IRS Data Book:

So after tax collections and refunds, the US government scored a wicked  haul just over $2.4 trillion. Sounds like a lot of money? Well that is primarily allocated to the fact that that it is a lot of money. You could buy so many flapjacks with $2.4 trillion, it is ridiculous. Unfortunately, there has been no fiscal policy, to date, which allows for such lumberjackian-breakfast style accommodations(©Wondergressive 2013).

Aside from selling treasury shares which collect huge amounts of interest, tax revenues are the only way in which our government gets money. So every paycheck you give money to the government in exchange for a service. Do you like the results that you’re getting?

Now that we know how much money the great tax vacuum inhales every year lets examine the federal budget spending (outlays in billions of dollars) for that same year:

As you can see, the majority of spending is divided between discretionary programs and mandatory programs. Social security, medicare, medicaid, and other programs received approximately $2 trillion dollars in government spending. Great, we’ve got around $400 billion left! Lets spend it on some cool stuff that will make us all happier.

Right away we’ve got a problem: The defense budget is allocated almost $700 billion. That’s 30% of 2011 total collected tax revenue.

The non defense budget consists of another $600 billion dollars. According to an article from americanprogress.org, nondefense discretionary programs include

…nearly all of the federal government’s investments in primary and secondary education, in transportation infrastructure, and in scientific, technological, and health care research and development. It also includes nearly all of the federal government’s law enforcement resources, as well as essentially all federal efforts to keep our air, water, food, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, workplaces, highways, airports, coasts, and borders safe. It includes veterans’ health care services and some nutritional, housing, and child care assistance to low-income families. It even includes the funding for such national treasures as the Smithsonian Institution, our national parks system, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA.

In lay speak that means: all of the neat stuff.

Next on the list comes the net interest. $230 billion dollars of interest was accrued by previous treasury bonds. In the unlikely case that you are completely unaware of debt and its practice; interest accrued is a compounding tax on borrowed money. It acts as incentive for borrowers, giving them a payout for “helping” a country in need. As the U.S. general public holds $11,855,687,948,374.48 in debt, I’ll spare you any more ironic explanations of debt.

Wait a second. Wait just one second. In 2011 the U.S. Government spent approximately $3.6 trillion. The tax revenue accounts for approximately 67% of that money spent. So, as I stated earlier, the other 32% must come from treasury shares. That means that almost a third of our 2011 spending was covered by a pseudo-credit card.
So who all helped finance our deficit? The chart to the left shows the amount of money, in billions of dollars, that the united states owes to various countries and companies.

China and Japan rake in the most with a combined $2.1 trillion. To put that into perspective that’s almost the entire collected tax revenue for 2011. An entire year of hardworking laborers would just barely be able to pay off these two debts. This is assuming that the United States spends absolutely nothing on anything else.

So, when you hear about congress and the president running around every year trying to figure out a budget, you now have a better understanding of what the heck they are actually doing. Every person has a different idea of what the United States budget should be and when there are outside interests holding gigantic stakes there is absolutely no easy way to get out of this.

The best way to fix anything is to start small. A billion dollars here a billion dollars there. It might be an idea to start turning off the white house bowling alley an hour earlier each night.

Treasury Securities
ondefense Discretionary Programs
National Public Debt
2011 IRS Data Book
2011 Budget Summary Tables

Related From Wondergressive:
Open Access Journals Suddenly Open to the Public
ObamaCare and the 49-Employee Company

Open Access Journals Suddenly Open to the Public

Last week, my personal frustration with finding sources lead to an anger-filled article on open access journals and the apparent lack of them. The President, who most likely reads every article on Wondergressive, has been forced to tell somebody else to act.  In response to a whitehouse.gov petition regarding increasing public access to research, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), John P. Holdren, has issued a memorandum to any federal agency making more than $100 million dollars.

The logic behind enhanced public access is plain. We know that scientific research supported by the Federal Government spurs scientific breakthroughs and economic advances when research results are made available to innovators. Policies that mobilize these intellectual assets for re-use through broader access can accelerate scientific breakthroughs, increase innovation, and promote economic growth. That’s why the Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that the results of federally-funded scientific research are made available to and useful for the public, industry, and the scientific community.

Federal agencies have been given one year to organize all of their data and provide an easy way for public researchers to access. From the memo:

To the extent feasible and consistent with law; agency mission; resource constraints; U.S.
national, homeland, and economic security; and the objectives listed below, the results of
unclassified research that are published in peer-reviewed publications directly arising from
Federal funding should be stored for long-term preservation and publicly accessible to search,
retrieve, and analyze in ways that maximize the impact and accountability of the Federal
research investment.


So providing that Homeland Security or the Department of Defense does not stamp “Plebeians Should Not Read” in dark red and all of the information is in scientific journal format, we should expect to see a lot more results from our dear Aunt Samantha. The memo requires agencies to make archives readily available as well. Supposing that our government steers clear of the 1984’s Department of Truth, this new policy might actually be a good thing.

But wait, $100 million dollars is a heck of a lot of money? What about the agencies that don’t meet this mark? This Federal R&D Budget Request outlines how much money is allocated to different agencies. The chart, picture below, tells us plainly that almost all of the federal funding goes to agencies receiving more than the Doctor Evil-inspired mark. You’ll probably also notice that the DoD research request accounts for just under half of the total budget with a whopping $71 Billion.

Besides not being able to properly understand the vast amount of money, It’s hard to understand why we spend so much of it on defense. I mean, why are we being so defensive? We don’t need to yell. It doesn’t take somebody who sees octarine to realize that there might be a problem with that. As this article is about Open Access Journals, I will stay this point until a later date.

It should come as no surprise then that the Department of Health and Human Services has been actively sharing their findings for a couple of years now. They are so healthy and fresh over there and all they want to do is take care of us. Well good for them. Even bureaucrats can have a heart, or at least know where to find one in a pinch.



www.whitehouse.gov: Increasing Public Awareness

Memorandum to Departments and Agencies

Federal Research and Development Funding

HHS.gov: Open Government Partnership