Tax Day, your favorite day of the year, is almost here. As workers across the country prepare their yearly tax returns, the White House released the 2011 income tax receipt this week to see where your money going when you give it to the black hole known as the federal budget.
The receipt ranks government expenditures, with defense spending coming up first with nearly 25 percent, while education spending comes up at 3.6 percent and international affairs, better known as foreign aid, at 1.6 percent.
Alternative numbers from usgovernmentspending.com tell a different story. They put healthcare as the largest piece of the government spending pie at 17 percent, and defense spending at only 14 percent.
Why the discrepancy?
According to Tad DeHaven, a budget guru at the Cato Institute, there is more than one way to skin the cat. The White House numbers only depict the spending for money coming explicitly from income tax.
“It is called an income tax receipt,” DeHaven told the Daily Caller. “There are many ways to look at the numbers and they look at the numbers categorically, which I don’t really have a problem with.”
“It doesn’t include other federal taxes like the postal tax,” DeHaven adds, explaining why there is a discrepancy between the two charts.
“What does concern me is the ‘fun fact’ at the bottom of the page about the Buffet Rule.”
The “fun fact” he is talking about is a widget at the bottom of the page with a “did you know” fact that says “The Buffett rule will ensure everyone pays their fair share,” with a link to learn more.
The link takes you to a page that declares: “1,470 people who made more than $1 million in 2009 paid $0 in federal income tax. The Buffett Rule will make sure that households making $1 million or more will pay at least as much as the middle class.”
The DC-based Tax Foundation released a report in 2011 disseminating the burden of income taxes across different income levels. According to their report, the lower 50 percent earners pay an average of 1.85 percent of their income to income tax, while the top 1 percent earners pay 24.01 percent.