You Pay More in Taxes Than on Housing, Food and Clothing -- Combined

The nonpartisan Tax Foundation says that this year, U.S. citizens will pay more than $4 trillion in total federal, state and local taxes.

That sum “is $152 billion, or 3.9%, more than they will spend on housing, food, and clothing combined,” says the tax research nonprofit.

Moreover, a greater percentage “of government benefits now go to pay for those same basic expenses of low-income Americans,” it says.

The Tax Foundation says it has been studying “the trends of tax collections and expenditures on housing, food, and clothing for the past several decades.”

The study shows that an ever-increasing amount of taxpayer money has gone into government programs that subsidize or pay for essential household goods. Cash and voucher benefits now pay for over a third of basic household expenses, up from less than 1% in 1929 and less than 20% in the early 1970s.

According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, the country will work 107 days this year just to pay for federal, state and local taxes.

"Transfer payments, or government social benefits, have grown to represent a substantial portion of money spent on living expenses, encompassing housing, food, clothing, healthcare, and transportation," said Tax Foundation Adjunct Scholar Kevin Duncan in a statement. "This means that the government is picking up an increasing portion of the tab for these essential goods."

The Tax Foundation also notes in a statement that “between 1929 and the early 1980s, aggregate tax collections were less than total expenditures on housing, food, and clothing.”

Specifically, the underlying data are as follows:

From 1929 to 1980, tax liabilities grew from $10 billion to $751 billion. But expenditures on housing, food, and clothing still was more than that final sum, growing from $41.6 billion to $775.7 billion.

The trend held until it started to flip in the early ‘80s, then it really changed for the good in 2000, when “the gap between tax collections and expenditures on essential goods reached a maximum in 2000, when Americans gave 19% more to the government than they spent on these items.”