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 Last published on 10/1/2020

Facts for every American to know:

HOW ARE YOUR TAX DOLLARS SPENT?

 

Star2  The USA budget has three parts: (a) Discretionary, (b) Mandatory, and (c) Interest.  [1]

 

(a) The Discretionary part of our government's budget is for everything except mandatory costs and interest. Military was 52% of discretionary spending in 2019. The remaining 48% was for: transportation, education, housing, health programs, veterans’ benefits, foreign affairs, law enforcement & FBI, homeland security, natural resources & agriculture, energy & oil, environment, science, community, commerce, miscellaneous social services, the IRS, some libraries, some museums, and other costs of government. [2]

 

(b) The Mandatory part of our government's spending is for social security, medicare, veterans' pensions, and mandated programs. [3]

 

(c) The Interest is owed by our government on its National Debt. In February 2019, the National Debt reached its highest in U.S. history --$22 Trillion-- and has continued to climb. [4] It has increased $4 Trillion (20%) from just under $20 Trillion in January 2017 to $24 Trillion on April 6, 2020 just before pandemic economic stimulus spending began. The U.S. debt increased another $2 Trillion in only 2 months (from 4/6/20 thru 6/8/20) to reach $26 Trillion. [5] It has continued to increase since that date, and it is expected to be approx $28 Trillion by the end of 2020 -- with interest owed on all of it. Tragically, future generations will be "stuck with the bill". [6]

 

Star2  Countries with the highest military spending (rounded) in 2019 were: USA $732 Billion, China $261 Billion, India $71 Billion, Russia $65 Billion, and Saudi Arabia $62 Billion. [7]

 

Star2  38% of the world's total military spending was by the USA in 2019. (There are 193 nations in the United Nations.) [8]

 

Star2  Approx $6,160 was the cost to each American household in 2019 for military spending (excluding veterans' pensions & benefits). [9]

 

Star2  Approx $4,000 is the amount of extra money that every American household would have had in 2019 if the USA had matched its military spending to China's. The U.S. government spent $732 Billion on military (excluding veterans' pensions & benefits) while China spent $261 Billion. (Note: China's military spending was the world's 2nd largest.) [10]

 

Star2  The USA has 6,185 nuclear bombs (2019), including those taken out of service that could be re-activated. [11]

 

Star2   The USA must stop going to war. Wars enormously increase our National Debt, bombs terribly damage our environment, and --most tragically-- wars kill and injure a horrifying number of human beings. Since 9/11 through a reliable report dated 11/20/19, the US government has spent $6.4 Trillion on wars, mostly in Afghanistan and Iraq. [12] The US military death count is approx 6,967 from wars (mostly in Afghanistan and Iraq) between 9/11 through last report date. [13] Over 111,000 Afghans have died from the U.S. war and related conflicts between 9/11 through the last report date.[14] Approx 288,000 Iraqis have died from the U.S. war and related conflicts from 2003 through last report date. [15]

 

Star2   The USA has repeatedly threatened war against Iran. If war happens, the loss of human life will be horrifying. Iran has a population of approx 83 Million (as of 7/31/2019). [16] Iran's military spending was less than $13 billion in 2019, while the USA's was $732 billion. [17] It would be an utter slaughter.

 

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

 

Tragically, 162 regulations for environmental protection --or other legislation that detrimentally affects our environment or delays its protection)-- have been removed or negatively affected between January 2017 to 9/24/2020 per the Climate Regulation Database maintained by Columbia University. [18] Per NASA's research and numerous other studies, 97% of scientists agree that human actions are causing severe climate change. [19] Sea levels are rising at the fastest rate in 3,000 years. [20] Climate change has been proven to increase and worsen the intensity and number of hurricanes, wildfires, flooding and droughts. [21] June and July 2019 were the hottest in recorded history. [22] There is 46% more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere than at the start of the Industrial Revolution. [23] Per the EPA, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the USA is from burning fossil fuels (gas, oil and coal). [24] Lower gas prices result in higher gas use, which increases damage to our planet's atmosphere. [25]

 

 

ARE YOU PAYING MORE THAN YOUR FAIR SHARE for U.S. income tax?

 

For 2020, how much will you benefit from the “2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”?  [26]

If you’re in the “Top 1%” of income earners, you’ll receive 27% of the tax cut benefits

If you’re in the Top 4%, you’ll receive 24% of the tax cut benefits

If you’re in the Top 20%, you’ll receive 21% of the tax cut benefits

If you’re in the Top 40%, you’ll receive 15% of the tax cut benefits

If you’re in between the Top 40% and Bottom 40%, you’ll receive 9% of the tax cut benefits

If you're in the Bottom 40%, you'll receive 4% of the tax cut benefits

If you're in the Bottom 20% (poor), you’ll receive 1% of the tax cut benefits

 

An enormous tax break for the extremely rich:

An heir can potentially owe $0 tax to the IRS on an inherited estate (cash & assets) up to $23,160,000 for 2020 ($11,580,000 per citizen parent) because of the "2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" (TCJA). For its first year, the TCJA more than doubled the previous tax-free amount (which had already been enormous). The tax-free amount has increased each year, and the increases are expected to continue. [27]

 

Some Republican Senators have proposed $0 tax on an unlimited estate size. They're calling the estate tax "the Death Tax", even though $0 tax is already owed on estates as large as $23,160,000 (2020). They want $0 federal tax to be paid for ANY estate --even those that are billions of dollars. [28]

 

 

What about huge, rich Corporations?  Their maximum tax is now 21%, not 35%, due to the "2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act" (the new corporate tax rate was not given a future expiration date). Disgracefully, due to the lowered tax rate (and other tax breaks, loopholes and deductions), large corporations have ended up paying much less than 21% --an average of 11.3%. In 2018, $0 federal tax was paid by 91 huge and profitable corporations, including Amazon, Netflix, Chevron, Murphy Oil, General Motors, U.S. Steel, Levi Strauss, Delta, and FedEx. [29]

 

Some large corporations are even receiving subsidies, such as Exxon's $5.9 Billion in 2017. [30] 

 

 

EARNINGS, WEALTH, DEBT, AND COST OF LIVING

 

The richest 1% of Americans own almost as much wealth as the entire middle class combined. [31]

 

However:

  40% of U.S. workers earned less than $25,000 --before subtracting taxes and other deductions-- per the most recent Social Security Administration's report. [32]

  50% of U.S. workers earned less than $32,839 --before subtracting taxes and other deductions-- per the most recent Social Security Administration's report. [33]

  On average, an American over age 17 has $90,460 of debt [per 2019 report]. The highest debt sources are: Home mortgages ($9.6 trillion), student loans ($1.4 trillion), auto loans ($1.3 trillion), consumer credit cards ($829 billion), home equity credit lines ($420 billion), personal loans ($305 billion) and retailer credit cards ($90 billion). As the second highest debt, student loans have grown the fastest, at 113% since 2009, which indicates that a college education in the USA has become very unaffordable. [34]

  30% of American adults were either unable to pay their bills or were one modest financial setback away from hardship (per Federal Reserve report issued May 2019). [35]

  Forty percent of American adults would have difficulty covering an unexpected $400 expense (per Federal Reserve report issued May 2019). [36]

  The U.S. cost of living for the middle class and poor is terribly high. For example:

--Housing cost averaged $20,091 for U.S. households (per report issued May 2020 for 2018 by the U.S. Department of Labor). [37]

--Transportation cost averaged $9,761 for U.S. households (per the above report). [38]

--Food cost (including food away from home) averaged $7,923 for U.S. households (per the above report). [39]

  Daycare cost is outrageously high in the USA. The average cost for a daycare center was $215 per week per infant in 2019. The average cost for after-school care was $243 per week per child. Some organizations, programs, tax credits and subsidies help with the problem, but they're far too little and too few. Jobs that don't pay enough can force parents onto welfare because they can't afford childcare. [40]

 

HEALTHCARE

 

The Coronavirus pandemic has revealed serious weaknesses in the USA’s healthcare system. The necessity for National Universal Healthcare in the USA is being increasingly proven [41]. The USA has 21% of the world's coronavirus deaths, but only approx 4% of the world’s population (as of this publication’s update on 9/22/20). [42]

 

Why does the USA have the highest number of COVID-19 deaths? Regardless of whether or not the government has incompetently responded to the crisis, there are various causes. One is the enormous number of Americans who didn’t have health insurance before the pandemic, and therefore weren’t prepared to fight the disease [ref.41]. Also, untreated pre-existing conditions can make a person more susceptible to coronavirus. [ref.41] There were 37.5 million uninsured Americans in the second half of 2019, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control “National Health Interview Survey” (published Sept. 2020). [43]. Between February and May 2020, over 5.4 million lost health insurance due to losing their jobs [44]. Nearly 12 million Americans lost health insurance between February and August 2020, per the Economic Policy Institute’s report dated 8/26/20 (which included employer, private, government, and family coverage). [45]

 

Many, many more millions are expected to lose coverage as the pandemic continues --but also after the disease has been contained, because of the expected long-term effects on the economy and business survival. Thus, Americans are increasingly advocating for Universal Healthcare. [46]

 

The unaffordability of healthcare is another contributor to the USA having the world’s most deaths from COVID-19. [47]. Our government has covered certain COVID-19 related costs, but not treatment --which can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars [48]. Healthcare cost in the USA is by far the highest in the world [49] The USA also has the highest prescription drug cost in the world [50]. Americans pay on average nearly four times more for drugs than other countries – in some cases, 67 times more for the same drug. [51]

 

 

How does the USA's healthcare compare to other countries?

 

Even though the USA has by far the highest cost for healthcare in the world, the quality is not as good as many other developed countries. The predominant source for worldwide health statistics is the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development]. For preventable deaths (ages 0-69), the USA ranked the 33rd worst out of the 39 developed countries most recently analyzed. For life expectancy, the USA only ranked the 17th highest out of 44 developed countries for 2019. For cancer, the USA had the 12th highest death rate (per capita) out of the 39 developed countries most recently analyzed. Most disappointingly, the USA had the 34th highest rate of infant mortality among the 44 developed countries for 2019. The infant mortality rate is often used as an indicator of the quality of healthcare in a country [52]. Another measure used for comparing the healthcare of countries is the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranked the USA’s health factors as 35th among 169 nations in its 2019 report. [53]

 

The USA is the only industrialized nation in the world without Universal Healthcare. [54] The USA’s healthcare system is by far the most expensive in the world, but it has serious deficiencies such as those listed above. It seems that it’s time for the USA to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world and provide Universal Healthcare --or, at the very least, implement tremendous reforms.

 

 

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