Robert Reich: Where Your Tax Dollars Really Go


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. Let’s 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. So if Trump and Republicans in Congress aren’t
going to cut these programs, they’re going to cut this. Why? It’s the oldest trick in the Republican
playbook. Their goal has always been to make the deepest possible cuts to Social Security,
Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act in order to make way for more tax cuts
for the wealthy and corporations. So when you hear a politician complain that
the federal government spends too much on these sorts of things, don’t believe it. Here’s where the money is really going. What do you think? What should the federal
government spend money on? Let us know in the comments. If you found this video informative, be sure
to also watch our video on the military industrial drain. As always, thank you for watching, and be sure to subscribe to this channel for more videos like this one.

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