How our federal income taxes are spent
You may well have heard it before, but perhaps misplaced the copy of how your tax dollars are spent, so here is one to keep.
For each dollar of federal income tax paid in 2013, the money was spent roughly as follows:
Forty cents of every dollar went to military spending. This includes the Pentagon budget and related programs with a military function, such as nuclear weapons, production in the Department of Energy and foreign military assistance, interest on the federal debt accumulated from past Pentagon spending, and care and benefits for veterans plus other costs and obligations from past wars.
For health care, health care financing and health research, 23 percent: This includes Medicaid, public health programs, Indian Health, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.
Most of the money for Medicare comes from a dedicated payroll tax, not from income taxes, so the Medicare Trust Fund is not considered part of the federal budget and is not included here.
To assist low-income households, 16 percent: This category includes programs such as housing, income, education and food assistance that are available to people which meet certain income guidelines. Some help to alleviate poverty such as food assistance and income supplements, while others provide a firm foundation and ladders out of poverty, such as housing, health care and education.
For general government operations, 11 percent: This includes interest on the rest of the federal debt — the part that is not attributable to past military spending and other government operations such as Congress, the judiciary most of the Department of Homeland Security, the IRS and Treasury, etc.
Community and economic development, 6 percent: This includes supports for trade and commerce, agriculture support, urban and rural development, employment and education programs, plus childcare assistance and community programs.
Energy, science and the environment, 3 percent: This includes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautic and Space Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, most of the Department of the Interior plus the Forest Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Development, diplomacy and war prevention, 2 percent: The category of spending includes all the ways we relate to the rest of the world that do not engage the military — the State Department including the diplomatic corps and the Agency of International Development, support for the United Nations and other international institutions and non-military aid to other countries.
We are told again and again about the many dangers our country faces or could face if we do not keep an enormous military. On my car bumpers, I have copies of the FCNL’s poster, “War is not the answer.”
I truly believe that as someone who enlisted during WWII to stop the slaughter of Jews. Then came Vietnam, which I felt proved the futility of war, but Iraq and Afghanistan proved me wrong.
Now we are constantly toying with the thoughts of helping countries settle their problems. Experience should have taught us that we can’t tell countries how they should handle their problems. Watch Iraq and Afghanistan when we leave.
We have a United Nations and could well provide substantial support by sorting out with their members what should be done, when and how. Let’s not be the big kid on every block anymore.
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024@