It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year–TAX TIME!
Of course, you can hear a hint of sarcasm in this statement. Not everyone likes filling out the forms or doing the math. But certainly everyone enjoys receiving a refund. It’s treated like a gift from the gods (aka the IRS), and we look forward to using it on that item we’ve craved for so long (a new TV, a new Iphone, etc). Unfortunately, sometimes, it has to be used on that latest unexpected bill (fixing the car, paying a medical expense, etc.) Regardless of how we use it, the idea of tax-payer dollars intrigues me. For the 2009 fiscal year, 140 million individuals filed taxes, totaling $1.175 trillion. So my question is where does all this money go?
Not being an auditor or IRS agent, I cannot trace the paper trail exactly, but I can tell you this: The budget for the Department of Defense is $548 billion. We send Israel $8 million a day (just for good measure) totaling $3 billion per year. This year, we decided to use that exact same amount ($3 billion) to help our floundering K-12 education system. Ironically, we added twice that amount to NASA’s budget, so we can keep exploring areas in space. Using our tax dollars, the Navy spent a meager $109,000 to fly four F-18s over the stadium in Dallas (which was closed). Obviously, this last effort sounds like chump change compared to the other examples, but bringing it down to the average Joe’s income–let’s say you make $50,000/year. That’s not too bad in my estimation. But then again, you just worked 730 days for four jets to show up on a TV screen for 2 seconds. Do you feel like that was a wise use of that money?
The moral of these statistics is not to quit paying taxes. After all, the IRS is kind enough to give us a few hundred dollars back each year. I do hope, however, that this gives you a slight taste of where American interests lie.