Thursday, May 11, 2006

What's Your Share?

The data here is from this document on and this document on

In 2005, the total U.S. Federal budget was $2.472 trillion dollars. Total revenue was $2.154 trillion dollars, leaving a budget deficit for 2005 of $318 billion dollars. This brought the total amount of public treasury debt to $7.879 trillion dollars. The net interest paid to service this debt in 2005 was $184 billion dollars. In other words, over half of the current deficit can be attributed to interest the government has to pay on the debt already outstanding. To use the analogy of a credit card, the government took a $318 billion dollar cash advance in 2005, used $184 billion of it to pay the interest on the bill and spent the rest.

In 2005, there were 132 million individual federal tax returns filed. Roughly 132 million 'households' paid a total of $927 billion dollars in federal income tax. These households also paid a total of $794 billion dollars to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Corporations paid a total of $278 billion in income tax. Estate taxes, excise taxes, custom duties and miscellaneous receipts accounted for another $154 billion.

So the average household paid the federal government a total of $13,037 in 2005. The net interest paid by the government on Treasury securities per household was $1,394. This $1,394 represents the dollar amount that is transferred from the average household to holders of U.S. government Treasury securities. It should be noted that almost all of these securities holders are either banks, financial firms, wealthy individuals or foreign governments. This $1,394 per household doesn't provide any national benefit whatsoever. It doesn't clothe or feed poor children, it doesn't go toward education, it doesn't pay more policeman or airport security screeners and it doesn't go toward providing war veterans with better healthcare. This money represents a wealth distribution from the middle class to the rich. In other words, it's a back door that makes our progressive tax system, less so. Additionally as has been publicized lately, a large portion of this Treasury interest is going to Pacific Rim countries, primarily China. Right now China is our nation's MasterCard. So far they've allowed us to run up our balance, but that can't go on forever.

Finally, so far the Iraq war has cost us about $1 trillion dollars, or about $300 billion per year. So for the Iraq War and reconstruction in 2005 the average household paid about $2,272. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like they haven't gotten their money's worth?

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