From one of my favorite economics blog, Carpe Diem:
Thanks for Paying Your Federal Income Taxes, Here's Your Itemized "Taxpayer Receipt"
What You Paid For
(2009 tax receipt for a taxpayer earning $34,140 and paying
$5,400 in federal income tax and FICA)
Social Security $1,040.70
Interest on the National Debt $287.03
Combat Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan $229.17
Military Personnel $192.79
Veteran’s Benefits $74.65
Federal Highways $63.89
Health care research (NIH) $46.54
Foreign Aid $46.08
Education Funding for Low Income K-12 Students $38.17
Military Retirement Benefits $32.60
Pell Grants for Low Income College Students $29.75
NASA Space Program $28.09
Internal Revenue Service $17.69
Environmental Clean Up (EPA) $11.67
The FBI $11.21
Head Start $10.91
Public Housing $10.50
National Parks $ 4.27
Drug Enforcement Agency $3.14
Smithsonian Museum $1.12
Funding for the Arts $0.24
Salaries and benefits for members of Congress $0.19
From the policy paper "A Taxpayer Receipt" from a D.C.-based policy group called "The Third Way":
"Corn syrup, milk chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, coconut, almond, soy lecithin… any consumer can read these ingredients and their nutritional value on every package of a75-cent Almond Joy. What is provided to a taxpayer with a $5,400 tax bill? Nothing. For many Americans, the amount they pay in taxes is larger than any purchase they make during the year, but studies show they know almost nothing about where that money goes.
An electorate unschooled in basic budget facts is a major obstacle to controlling the nation’s deficit, not to mention addressing a host of economic and social problems. We suggest that everyone who files a tax return receive a “taxpayer receipt.” This receipt would tell them to the penny what their taxes paid for based on the amount they paid in federal income taxes and FICA."
MP: See the example above of an itemized tax receipt for the median tax filer in 2009 making an adjusted gross income of $34,140, and paying $2,790 in federal taxes, and $2,610 in Social Security and Medicare "contributions," for a total federal tax bill of $5,400.
And here's a slightly different version of an interactive itemized tax receipt calculator at a website called "Where My Money Goes," which allows you to put in any income amount and see an itemized tax receipt (thanks to Alex Rodriguez for this website).
The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised. - George Will
"It's not that liberals aren't smart, it's just that so much of what they know isn't so" -Ronald Reagan