1 cent

April 7, 2017 | Number of The Day
Amount of every 2016 tax dollar that went to science

With Tax Day bearing down on us, it’s time to get real: What did the government really spend your 2016 tax dollars on? The biggest chunk of your buck went to healthcare: 29.1 cents, according to the National Priorities Project. The second-largest slice went to the Pentagon and military: 23.4 cents.

But it’s the small numbers that are the most interesting. The government allocated 6 cents of every tax dollar to veterans’ benefits; 2.8 cents went to education; housing and community got 2.1 cents; energy and environment, 1.6 cents. And a paltry penny of your tax dollar went to science. That last number looks even smaller when you learn that paying the interest on the federal debt ate up 13.2 cents on the dollar.

The National Priorities Project also offers a breakdown of average federal income taxes paid by state. If you think New Jersey finished near the top of the list, you’re right.