Have you done your taxes?

Budgets are about priorities. What we spend our money on reflects our values and what we consider important. Congress sets the national priorities in the federal discretionary budget. This budget for 2015 spends $1.11 trillion dollars. For example, 54% will go for the Pentagon. Only 4% will be spent on diplomacy and international relations. Are these good national priorities? Please click here to complete a survey that asks you to set your priorities for 12 categories of Federal spending. Would you increase, decrease of leave the same the priorities set by Congress? How would you spend $1 Trillion?

Note: Total federal spending is made up of the "mandatory spending", "discretionary spending" and interest on the national debt. Mandatory spending includes Social Security, Medicare and other "entitlement" programs. Most of these are paid for in advance with payroll taxes. This is 65% of total spending. Congress does not control this spending with annual budgets. Interest on the debt is 6% of total spending. The discretionary bu

dget is 29% of total spending. It is what Congress debates each year as the "budget" and includes all other government programs and departments. Most of these dollars come from income taxes. Budget deficits occur when discretionary spending exceeds revenue from taxes.

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Budget statistics and the 12 spending categories provided by the National Priorities Project (www.nationalpriorities.org).

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