WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
Cardi B does have a point here. If you give to a group like Save the Children, you’ll get letters from the child you’re helping. It’s too bad Cabinet secretaries don’t write taxpayers detailing where their dollars go. (“Dear Taxpayer: I write to tell you that I dropped $31,000 for a dining room table and millions more for private jet rides.”) Fortunately for Cardi B, it’s not hard to find exactly where each federal tax dollar goes. (One caveat is that it’s not entirely accurate to talk about where “tax dollars” go because the government spends almost $1.20 for every dollar it takes in.) • The biggest chunk — 23 cents out of every dollar — goes to Social Security. Cardi B is just 25 now, so she’s probably not spending much time worrying about retirement, but she can get satisfaction out of knowing that at least some of the money will make its way back to her grandmother in Manhattan. • Medicare and other health care services take 13 cents each. In fact, more than two-thirds of every tax dollar goes toward various social insurance programs, which also include unemployment compensation and veterans’ benefits. • National defense takes 15.3 cents out of every dollar. Interest on the national debt eats up six cents more. And education takes another three cents.
Belcalis Almanzar, known professionally as Cardi B, is a popular musical artist. She appeared as a regular cast member on the VH1 reality television series “Love & Hip Hop: New York.” In February 2017, she signed her first major record label deal with Atlantic Records and her debut single, titled “Bodak Yellow,” reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, making her the second- ever female rapper to do so with a solo output, following Lauryn Hill in 1998. Cardi B grew up in South Bronx’s Highbridge neighborhood, where the median family income barely tops $27,000. Cardi B couldn’t wait to get out. She spent much of her time at her grandmother’s home across the Harlem River in Washington Heights. Now at just 25 years young, and having accumulated a net worth estimated at $4 million, Cardi B wants to know “where her tax dollars are going.” Since early this spring when she recorded an angry rant demanding to know where her tax dollars go, she has appeared on all the major news networks. “So you know the government is taking 40% of my taxes. And, Uncle Sam, I want to know whatchyou doing with my tax money. Because, you know what I’m saying? When you donate, when you donate to a kid from a foreign country, they give you updates of what they’re doing with your donation.” She complained about rats infesting New York City’s subway, and concluded, like any good auditor, “I want receipts.”
• That leaves just six cents out of every dollar to cover everything else. That total includes all the perennial punching bags that budget hawks love to attack, like foreign aid (one penny per tax dollar), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (1.2 hundredths of a penny), and the much-maligned National Endowment for the Arts (four thousandths of a penny). We’re willing to bet that no matter how your tax dollars are spent, you’d like to reduce the amount of your annual contribution. So don’t just criticize like Cardi B. Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain. Call us today. Let’s create a tax strategy plan that mitigates your tax burden and gives you something to sing about.
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