Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go?
Publication Date: April 2008
Author(s): Matt Fiedler
Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Keywords: Economic projections; Fiscal future; Federal budget
Since the government collects taxes in order to finance public services, it is useful to examine where tax dollars go when thinking about these crucial tax-policy decisions. All told, the federal government spent a bit more than $2.7 trillion in fiscal year 2007, representing about one-fifth of the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or slightly less than the historical average for the last three decades. Of that $2.7 trillion in expenditures, more than $2.5 trillion was financed by federal tax revenues. The remaining $162 billion was financed by borrowing and, hence, will ultimately be paid for by future taxpayers.