Tax Man

It is true what Albert Einstein said, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax". For me, the good deed is done. With this burden lifted from my shoulder, I get a masochistic thrill in having served my civic duty. Am I the only one?
Don't answer that.
The 16th Amendment of the U.S constitution ratified in 1913 makes it legal and mandatory to collect taxes from personal income:
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

There have many objections and alternatives proposed to our current tax code. I am not expert on this. I just want to know where do my (federal) taxes go? Well, as it turns out the nearly 3 trillion dollar budget can be summed up in a pie chart with several broad categories.

Here is the breakdown of the 2007/2008 proposed budget (via Washington Post )

FY 2008 Budget Proposal

Spending Categories

Budget by Functional Category

Spending by Category: FY 2007 vs. FY 2008

Function 2007 2008 Pct. change
Veterans benefits and services $72.4 $83.4 15.1%
General government 18.8 20.7 10.5%
Net interest 239.2 261.3 9.3%
General science, space and technology 24.9 26.6 7.1%
Transportation 74.6 79.3 6.3%
National defense 571.9 606.5 6.1%
Medicare 372.3 391.6 5.2%
Health 268.5 280.6 4.5%
Social Security 586.5 612.5 4.4%
Income security 365.4 380.8 4.2%
Administration of justice 45.3 47.0 3.7%
International affairs 35.1 36.1 3.1%
Agriculture 20.1 19.9 -1.2%
Natural resources and environment 35.2 32.9 -6.5%
Education, training, employment, and social services 94.0 82.7 -12.0%
Energy 1.8 1.4 -23.5%
Community and regional development 32.6 24.7 -24.4%
Commerce and housing credit .210 -2.0 -1,071.4%

Note: All numbers are estimates.

Source: Office of Management and Budget | Graphic: washingtonpost.com - February 5, 2007

All numbers are estimates? By estimates do they mean +/- 15% of nearly 3 trillion dollar budget. OK, I kid the Office of Management and Budget.
It is at least nice to see that science and technology will be getting a slightly larger piece of the pie next year since its share of the total has been low by historical standards. Of course, there are too many people who believe this pie chart is misleading, adds at least 214 billion to the federal deficit (slightly down from 2007) and propose a pie chart of their own.

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