ISSN 2330-717X

Robert Reich: Where Your Tax Dollars Really Go – OpEd

By

Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress claim that America spends too much on things like food stamps, welfare, and foreign aid. 

But let’s look at how the government actually spends your federal tax dollars each year. We’re going to look at what’s known as the “discretionary budget,” which has to be reappropriated by Congress each year.

Start with foreign aid, the conservatives’ favorite boogeyman. It’s $29 billion a year. That may sound like a lot but it’s only 2 percent of all discretionary spending. Add all spending on international affairs, it’s 4 percent.

What about science and technology, including NASA, the National Science Foundation, and research in clean energy, which conservatives love to hate?Just 3 percent.

The environment and natural resources – money for clean air, safe drinking water and protecting public lands? Another 3 percent.

Roads, bridges, highways, airports, all transportation funding: Another 3 percent.

Community and regional development: 2 percent.

Law enforcement, the Department of Justice, the entire federal court system: 5 percent

The Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, and rural health clinics: 5 percent.

Food stamps, energy assistance, child care, other income security: Just 6 percent.

Education and workforce training gets just 7 percent.

Veterans benefits account for 7 percent of the budget as well.

All other government services–including Energy, Agriculture, and Commerce–account for only 1 percent of the discretionary budget.

But that’s only 46 percent. The remaining 54 percent of annual spending is on the military, which is more spent on the military than the next 7 nations combined. It’s huge. It’s about the only really big thing the federal government does.

You may be thinking, but what about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act? 

By law, these programs are mandatory spending, which don’t require Congress to approve funding every year. Americans have paid into Social Security and Medicare over their entire working lives.

Yet they’re still vulnerable. In fact, if Trump and Republicans in Congress aren’t going to cut discretionary spending – especially on the military – the only places they can look to make way for more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  

That’s been their goal all along. 

Know where the money is really going. And know what they have in mind.



Please Donate Today
Did you enjoy this article? Then please consider donating today to ensure that Eurasia Review can continue to be able to provide similar content.

Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.