Breaking Down Taxes by the Numbers

The vast majority of government spending is unconstitutional wealth redistribution.

Thomas Gallatin · Apr. 15, 2019

Tax Day — or as we in our humble shop have long dubbed it, Income Redistribution Day — is upon us. In recognition of this dubious date, here’s a brief look at where the federal government spends well in excess of the $3 trillion in taxes it is expected to collect this year. Some 52% of the federal budget will be spent on the government’s four largest wealth-redistribution programs, better known as Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare, and Social Security. Another 16% will be spent on income-security programs, which include veterans’ benefits, food- and housing-assistance programs, retirement for federal employees, and disability programs. (An important note: There’s a huge distinction between money provided for veterans, or even citizens who’ve involuntarily contributed to what they’ve been told is a retirement system, and money given to people who choose not to work.) Combined, that’s more than is spent on national defense. Speaking of defense spending, one of the few federal expenditures actually enumerated in the Constitution will consume just 15% of the budget. Another 8% of the budget will go to pay the interest on the ever-growing $22 trillion national debt.

As for the biggest drivers of spending and debt, The Daily Signal reports, “Health entitlements — Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare — and Social Security are the largest and fastest growing programs. Unless Congress fixes these four programs, they — and the ever-growing interest payments on the national debt — will consume every dollar of taxes paid by 2041. That leaves no money for anything else. Uncle Sam couldn’t spend a penny on defense, food assistance, highways, or education without driving the country further into debt.”

Essentially, 76% of the federal budget is spent on the government’s wealth-redistribution programs or their resulting debt. Unless spending changes fast, by 2024 the U.S. debt will swell to 93% of GDP. But this can’t be blamed on the Republicans’ pro-growth tax cuts, which will actually raise more annual revenue than the old rates. As we have long argued, the culprit is Washington’s massive spending problem.

(For a brief summary of the history of taxation in America, read Mark Alexander’s “American Liberty v. Taxation: A Short History.”)

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