Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wow! If I earn $50K a year, $4.42 of my taxes goes to international affairs and foreign aid

Say I'm married with one child and an annual income of $50,000. My total payroll and income taxes will be $4,085.00. Of that amount, $4.42 is the portion of my taxes that goes to funding development and humanitarian assistance, security assistance, and foreign affairs, embassies, and additional international affairs.

That's right.  $4.42

Holy crap! That's 1.7% of my taxes! Is that shocking or what? Apparently, 26.3% of my taxes also go to National Defense which I'm sure Congress will tell me is worth it, earmarks included.
The figure above makes the following assumptions -- 1) that my family contributes 2 percent of my wage income to a 401(k) or IRA, 2) do not itemize, and 3) claims the Saver's Credit, as well as the Making Work Pay and Child Tax Credits.

If you go here, you can select four other income levels and see the breakdown on where the tax dollars are spent.  If you have your actual tax return you can input your real numbers and generate your own receipt with a breakdown of where your taxes go.

In any case, if I break down the $4.42 figure above, I'm paying $1.82 to development and human assistance, which is definitely way cheaper than a Starbucks latte.

What can I actually buy with $1.82?  Let's see --  a Walgreen’s Diapers.  Or a potato/macaroni salad in Charleston, South Carolina which sells for $1.82. I can also get 4 Boxes of Raisin Bran Crunch for only $7.29 (and that's $1.82 per box)!

At least $1.04 of that $4.42 tax money will also go to security assistance.  But for $1.04, I can get Clorox Bleach (60-oz.) at Walgreens, or half a pound of sugar.  One Thin Crunch Mixed Nuts and White Chocolate Bar also sells for $1.04 in my grocery aisle.

The remaining $1.56 of that $4.42 tax money will, of course, go to foreign affairs, embassies, and additional international affairs. What can I buy with $1.56?  A can of sardines is available for that price.  I could also buy a jar of Skippy Peanut Butter or a 5-lb bag of flour.

Below is a receipt for a taxpayer earning $50K:

So, for the price of one crunchy Skippy Peanut Butter, you can march to any US Embassy or Consulate in over 250 places around the world and demand assistance.  Is $4.42 a good investment of your tax dollars?

Isn't that a tad cheap?

1 comment:

e said...

Thank you for this biting yet astute piece of explanatory commentary. Perspective is everything!