Where are my tax dollars going?

AJ+
AJ+
Apr 18, 2017 · 2 min read

By Michelle Klug

When money disappears from your paycheck, do you ever stop to think about where it goes?

This interactive live stream lets you decide where you think tax dollars should be spent. It won’t actually affect the budget, but it will highlight the difference between where people want their taxes to go and where they actually go.

A little about the live project:

  • You can vote by choosing the emoji that corresponds with the category. Once you vote, that category will increase in budget, and others will decrease. It all needs to balance out and equal 100%.
  • We chose these categories based on where the government actually spends tax funds. We left some categories out for the sake of simplification (and because Facebook only offers six emojis).
  • We also had to combine some categories—like healthcare and social security — to fit it all in. These things are not grouped together in the federal budget.

So … what about the question up top?

The answer is, it’s complicated. Government-run websites don’t break it down very clearly, but organizations like the National Priorities Project are devoted to presenting that data in an easy-to-understand format. If you want to get into the nuts and bolts of discretionary spending vs. mandatory spending, check out their explanation here.

Below, you’ll find a general breakdown of the 2016 budget:

How did your vote match up with actual federal spending? Let us know in the comments.

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