It's Tax Day: Do You Know Where Your Tax Money Goes?

Monday, April 18, 2011

It’s tax day. And if you haven’t done so already, it’s your last chance to fill out your income tax forms and make a payment to the IRS. It’s a time-honored tradition. It’s a civic duty. It’s a pain. And we all have to do it. But how much do we really know about how our tax money gets used?

To help taxpaying Americans visualize just how exactly our tax dollars get spent, Google launched a challenge for engineers and designers to come up with a website that best lays it all out. We talk with the winner of the Data Visualization ChallengeAnil Kandangath, who created the website, Where Did My Tax Dollars Go?

Guests:

Anil Kandangath

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [6]

Jane from Detroit

Anil discussed the progressive nature of our tax system and mentioned how so many people do not realize they are paying less than 15% of their income in federal income taxes. Anil did not mention how the progressiveness ends when it comes to the ultra rich whose income is not from salary. My federal income taxes alone were 25% of my income. I have no problem with this, however, I do have a problem with the fact that those with similar income which is not from salary and those with substantially greater income pay a much lower percentage.

Apr. 18 2011 04:27 PM
Ken C from Brooklyn, NY

I spent some time on the whatwepayfor site this morning, whose data and api's were used in this challenge. Unfortunately their calculations are quite obviously wrong. This is easily proven with simple arithmatic.

According to their calculations:

Based on an income of $85,000
My Share of All Administration of Justice Spending = $357.16
My Share of Discretionary Administration of Justice Spending = $996.53
My Share of Mandetory Administration of Justice Spending = $19.87

$996.53 + $19.87 = $1016.40 not $357.16

My Share of All Agriculture Spending = $169.81
My Share of Discretionary Agriculture Spending = $133.01
My Share of Mandetory Agriculture Spending = $205.74

$133.01 + $205.74 = $338.75 not $169.81

Apr. 18 2011 01:04 PM
Allison Warner from Arlington, WA

I was surprised that John didn't catch the misconception which is continued with the website and your presentation, that "where your tax dollars go" includes Social Security and Medicare. We pay for social security and medicare in separate payments into their trust funds and they are funded not by our taxes. Jon as a history buff, I am surprised you didn't point out that the federal pie chart in your tax brochure added the trust funds during the Vietnam war years, to obscure the federal spending on military. Without these trust funds, the military percentage is much higher. Still I am glad the percentage on NPR was clarified in your broadcast, as well as the money spent on the interest on military spending. Without the trust funds added in, the federal pie chart shows military as 54% of the budget (http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm)

Apr. 18 2011 12:03 PM
Stephen from Oklahoma City, OK

Anil Kandangath is wrong, Medicare and Social Security are not sacred (See TEA Party). Heplugged WH tax calculator but was silent on the calculator of FOX NEWS. Return to the Republic and end the Empire mentality. Make the military truly voluntary and the world would experience a peace dividend. Legalize Pot, tax it and raise billion$ while relieving suffering. If we must have the DOD in current form, charge fee for service and take the oil fields of the naughty nations. Let Christians, Jews and Muslim take care of the sick and poor, as it was in the beginning. Charge the estates of government reps who vote Yea for the spending under product liability. Go back as far as G. Washington and get those responsible. My friends are still owed $300,000 from the Continental Army of Gen Washington.

Apr. 18 2011 11:10 AM
Stephen from Oklahoma City, OK

Neil is wrong, Medicare and Social Security are not sacred (See TEA Party). If we would stop being an Empire and make the military truly voluntary, the world would experience a peace dividend. Legalize Pot, tax it and raise billion while relieving suffering. If we must have the DOD in current form, charge fee for service and take the oil fields of the naughty nations. Let Christians, Jews and Muslim take care of the sick and poor, as it was in the beginning. Charge the estates of government reps who vote Yea for the spending under product liability. Go back as far as G. Washington and get those responsible. My friends are still owed $300,000 from the Continental Army of Gen Washington.

Apr. 18 2011 10:57 AM
Bill Wylie-kellermann from detroit

The site and calculations perpetrate a deception begun under the Nixon administration which includes trust funds, like Social Security, in the federal budget pie. This masks the extent of the military portion - which, when including the military contribution to debt interest, comes to 48%. I'm mindful of this because that's the portion for warmaking which I am today refusing to pay.

Apr. 18 2011 09:47 AM

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