Every year since 2011, the White House has used tax time to post a "Federal Taxpayer Receipt" showing taxpayers how their federal tax dollars are being spent. President Obama introduced the concept in his 2011 State of the Union address, and Wednesday the White House posted the fifth installment so taxpayers can see how "tax dollars are being spent on priorities like education, veterans benefits, and health care."
While users can punch in their own tax liability and see dollar amounts assigned to each category, the figures are based on percentages from the prior fiscal year budget. Comparing those percentages from year to year, taxpayers can see that from 2012 to 2014, the percentage of their taxes going towards federal healthcare expenses has jumped 22 percent.
In 2010, the year Obamacare passed and was signed into law, the healthcare percentage was 24.10. The following year, 2011, it dropped to 23.7 percent, and in 2012 dropped still further to 22.45 percent. After this, however, the trend sharply reversed. In 2013 the healthcare share jumped to 25.19 percent, and the latest numbers posted this week for 2014 show the highest proportion yet at 27.49 percent, a full 22 percent increase over 2012. This means that for every dollar a taxpayer pays in 2014, an additional nickel is going to pay for healthcare that had been spent elsewhere in 2012. Presently, over 27 cents on every dollar is spent by the federal government on health care, primarily Medicaid and Medicare.
One area impacted is national defense. For the five years of the National Taxpayer Receipt, the share for national defense was highest in 2010 at 26.3 percent. By 2014, this figure had fallen to 23.91 percent, a decrease of nine percent. Other budget areas have changed to varying degrees, such as veterans benefits which increased from 4.1 percent in 2010 to 5.93 percent in 2014, a 45 percent increase.
Although the White House characterizes the Federal Taxpayer Receipts as a promise kept by President Obama to let taxpayers easily know where their tax dollars are going, the administration also used the opportunity to take a dig at Republicans, providing a link to "See how two starkly different tax plans would impact you" where viewers can read about the president's "tax cuts for the middle class" and the Republicans' "giveaways for the wealthy few." In the end, the White House doesn't just want taxpayers to know where their money is going, but where everyone else's is going, too.