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It’s nice to have more money in your pocket. And thanks to the 2017 tax cuts, the typical American is now paying less in taxes.

Justin Bogie

Bogie

Adam Michel

Michel

But that’s not to say we’re not still sending a hefty sum of money to Washington.

Tally up all the payroll and other taxes on earnings and income, and you’ll find that the average American household forks over more than $26,000 to the feds each year.

Last year, Washington collected more than $3.3 trillion in taxes. So where exactly does all that money go?

Some believe most of it goes to foreign aid and defense. Others think corporate subsidies dominate the budget.

In reality, health entitlements — Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare — and Social Security are the largest and fastest growing programs.

Unless Congress fixes these four programs, they — and the ever-growing interest payments on the national debt — will consume every dollar of taxes paid by 2041. That leaves no money for anything else. Uncle Sam couldn’t spend a penny on defense, food assistance, highways or education without driving the country further into debt.

Right now, Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare subsidies account for more than a quarter (28.8 percent) of all federal spending. Ten years from now, it’s projected to gobble up more than a third of the budget.

Meanwhile, Social Security, the single largest federal program, accounts for roughly a quarter of all federal spending all by itself. Its trust funds already pay out more than they take in, and its finances will only deteriorate faster as more and more boomers retire.

The Social Security trustees project that unless Congress implements much-needed reforms, the program will run out of reserve funds by 2034, potentially triggering a 23 percent cut in benefits.

Other income security programs — veterans’ benefits, food and housing assistance, federal employee retirement, and disability — account for 16 percent of the budget.

That’s more than we spend on national defense.

And the defense budget covers everything from military paychecks to operations overseas to the research, development and acquisition of new technologies and equipment.

At 15 percent of the federal budget, defense spending is the last major category of federal spending. Most of what is left goes to people and corporations who hold Washington’s IOUs. Currently, 8 percent of the budget goes to interest payments on this debt.

During the coming decade, U.S. debt held by the public is projected to balloon to nearly 93 percent of gross domestic product. But don’t blame that on “inadequate taxation.” By 2024, the pro-growth tax enacted in 2017 will actually raise more revenue yearly than the old system.

No, the culprit here is runaway spending, driven primarily by huge increases in health and Social Security outlays. And the long-term consequences of deficit spending are dire.

Economic growth tends to slow in countries with debts that are as big as their economy. The U.S. is quickly joining this group.

As the debt increases, so does the cost of the interest we must pay to those who hold the debt. China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt.

Left unchecked, growing government spending and historically high levels of debt will ultimately require higher taxes — and just jacking up taxes on the rich won’t cut it. Paying for Big Government requires high taxes on middle-class Americans, too.

Eventually, rising debt will leave lawmakers with few options to avoid a financial crisis. Unless we can reverse course, it is only a matter of time before every American will be forced to pay higher income and payroll taxes.

On Tax Day 2019, be thankful for the extra money the 2017 tax cuts deposited in your pocket.

But know that, unless we insist that lawmakers suppress their seemingly insatiable appetite to spend, we could all soon be paying much, much more.

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Justin Bogie and Adam N. Michel are both senior policy analysts in The Heritage Foundation’s Hermann Center for the Federal Budget.

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(28) comments

oldhomey

I looked at those two faces at the top of the column and thought, well, I bet I know where this is going. So I read it, and it is exactly where it went. Defense is the biggest eater of taxes, about 25 percent. You can combine SS and Medicare and say they take a larger bite. But I guess these two jamokes say that why corporations and the super rich continue to take ever larger share of the national wealth while paying an ever smaller share of taxes, the people who do the actual work in this country should be satisfied with an ever-shrinking wage pool and benefits, and just suck it up and fend for themselves in old age and, if they are simply poor, to heck with them. The function of government in their eyes is to make life easier for the wealthy and powerful. As for the average household paying $24,000, puh-LEEZE. There are tens of millions of families trying to live on that or less. And D and many others on here think THOSE people aren't pulling their own weight.

A Veteran

old phony---The article says defense takes 15% of the budget where do you get the 25% figure from,or is this just another one of your lies.If you would have got off the bar stool and put your a$$ to work maybe you would not be one of the poor people --fool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

oldhomey

Well, A Veteran (of no known military service), you caused me to go back to the site in which I took my information from that you object to. I see that it was about five or six years old, when we had a more active military presence in the Middle East, and that was the figure given. It has gone down a bit since then. This is what I got from a more current source:

"The War on Terror of the 2000s saw an increase in defense spending share, peaking at 24.5 percent share in 2010. Defense share of federal spending declined to 20.6 percent share in 2017 and is expected to stay above 20 percent share through 2020. "

oldhomey

By the way, A Veteran (of no known military organization), your remarks about me appeal to my sense of nostalgia and nights of sitting on bar stools. Unfortunately, my bottom has not been atop of one yet this year. I hope to remedy that in a few weeks at a reunion with old colleagues.

A Veteran

old phony---As i am sure you know all you had to do was go to the annual report from congress after a year is over to find what was spent,I used 2017 as that is the latest that is published .The Government spending for the defense that year was about 664 billion dollars out of total spending of around 4.76 trillion dollars or close to 14.5% of all spending. Nice try to cover up a lie but no cigar for old phony the LIAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

oldhomey

There you have it, folks. A Veteran (of no known military organization) has declared me a fool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and a LIAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somehow, coming from him, I don't feel bad at all to have so anointed.

A Veteran

old phony---I did not declare you a fool and a liar ,I proved that you are a fool and a liar.You are a fool because you are arrogant enough to think we will believe anything you say,and a liar because you knew you was trying to use false facts to prove your point,where is your APOLOGY for lying??????????????????????????????????????????????

oldhomey

I think I will leave you with your intense wondering, A Veteran (of no known military force).

Cassandra2

It is shocking that the Tribune will continue to let wingnuts use these pages to spread carefully crafted lies. It is easy enough to do an internet search to determine that it is the MILITARY that takes up the majority of the budget. This piece is clearly #fakenews and propaganda from the wingnut crowd.

Rick Czeczok

What! This is about the most liberal paper in 200 miles. Please think before you engage that mouth into anything but eating, we know you are an expert at that. WOW crazy in crazy out.

Frangel45

You are so wrong - but then reading your extreme right garbage I understand.

Frangel45

Thank you for pointing that out. Also, the 'so called entitlements' are not entitlements but INSURANCE THAT WE PAID FOR - they continue to refer to S.S. Medicare Medicaid in this manner while in reality THEY - THE RICH ENTITLED are showering themselves with rebates, low or no tax legislation. Amazing the slant this newspaper has adopted with the new management - time to tell the actual truth. This article is such a horrible piece of lying in broad day light - why would you publish this?

A Veteran

cassy the fool--Well I went to the internet on government spending and I find that close to 60% of all federal government spending goes to S.S. Medicare,and Medicade another 14.5 % or 670 billion of 4.76 trillion goes for defense. So it appears the NYT is right on liberals lying on economical issues.CASSY have you heard the old saying it is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool than to open it and prove you are a FOOL.learn to do some research and think for yourself and you will not look so ignorant !!!!!!!!!!!!!

martian2

Looks like we need some facts about Social security after reading this bogus column. Social Security Fun Facts:

* Social Security and Medicare are paid for with a separate tax. They add NOTHING to the national debt.

* Social Security has a $2.5 trillion SURPLUS.

* Congress has “borrowed” trillions from Social Security to pay for government spending.

So when the GOP says we need to cut Social Security in order to balance the federal budget… they’re lying.
We don't need to cut one dime from social security despite what this column says. But there does need to do some adjusting and work to do to continue the program well into the future for working class Americans. Want more info check out: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/social-security-fun-facts/

A Veteran

COMRADE martain---As we are talking about money is the rumor being past around that you are stating a fund to bus illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities true COMRADE????????????????????????

Cassandra2

How sad that the "vet" can't even come up with an original dig at his adversaries.

Frangel45

Just the mere fact that the GOP has adopted referring to these social INSURANCE programs as entitlements is a disgusting lie - that they hope the public will believe. The entitlements that the 1% rake off the top of our tax revenue and the fact that they write legislation to let them pay NO TAXES AT ALL is a crime.

DMoney

Say by the surplus. As of this or next year, projections are that the surplus will be used to pay benefits. The fund in it's entirety is projected to go broke by 2034. That will probably still affect you--and will hit me before even approaching retirement age. The only thing to save it will be skrewing over the millions who paid in for their whole careers by charging a tax or reducing their benefit.

martian2

Congress can fix the shortfall of SS if it has the will and wisdom to do so.

oldhomey

Ah yes. D, who proves himself to be a liar simply by posting this week after promising he would not, finds it important to come to defense of the impossibly wealthy, people who enjoy that status on the backs of everybody else.

DMoney

You're a smart guy, don't take my word for it. Publicly available fact about the failure of social security and federal handling and micromanagement of private citizens.

martian2

you can opt out of social security taxes D. I know many who have done so, and come retirement time, they all regretted it. Go ahead if you think its such a rotten deal.

capedcrusader

DMoney - Social Security is not "failing". That's an outright lie spread by all the rightwingers who don't want to pay in for a program that has worked for decades. The same rightwingers who like to claim the United States Postal Service wasn't working and needed to be privatized. (another foolish claim). Tweaks and changes need to be made for most things. That's what helps keep them functioning the way their supposed to. Sometimes it's called prevertative maintenance, other times it's called common sense. Don't forget you promised to give me your Social Security.

DMoney

Caped, you must be joking. The impending doom of social security is a known and mathematically proven fact. You can have my bread crumbs I'll be fine with my private investments.

DMoney

*Say bye to

oldhomey

Okay, D. I'll say "bye" to you. You need to stay off these boards for seven days to hold your end of the bargain. So I expect not to see you on here until next Wednesday.

DMoney

You need to find and read my response

oldhomey

No, you need to reproduce it here. You know where it is, if there is one, and I do not. I will not waste a moment of my own time looking for it.

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