Question of the Day: Where are the most federal tax dollars spent? a) Defense b) Education c) Health
- Did the answer surprise you? Why?
- Why do you think that health costs are such a large part of the federal budget?
- If you could prioritize spending among these three categories, how would you order them from most to least important? Explain.
Behind the numbers (National Priorities Project):
Tax Day materials do not include corporate taxes or the individual payroll taxes that directly fund Social Security and Medicare. To read more about where federal revenues come from, visit Where the Money Comes From. Our Tax Day materials show how federal funds were spent during fiscal year 2017, the time period that most closely corresponds to the calendar year for which income taxes are due.
In order to do this analysis, we separate federal funds from trust funds. Trust funds, generated from sources such as payroll taxes, can only be used for specific programs like Social Security and Medicare. All other funds are federal funds, including revenue from your federal income taxes, and can be used for a wide variety of purposes.
Taxes on the mind? Check out NGPF's Taxes resource page which is chock-full of ideas to engage your students!
About the Author
Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.