According to a recent news release from the Tax Foundation, Americans pay about $4.041 trillion in taxes, which is 3.9 percent less than they spend on food, housing and clothing combined.
“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 Kevin Duncan, Tax Foundation adjunct scholar. “This means that the government is picking up an increasing portion of the tab for these essential goods.”
According to the report, between 1929 and the early 1980s, aggregate tax collections were less than total expenditures on housing, food and clothing. During that period, tax liabilities grew from $10 billion to $751 billion, while expenditures on housing, food and clothing grew from $41.6 billion to $775.7 billion. The gap between tax collections and expenditures on essential goods peaked in 2000, when Americans gave 19 percent more to the government than they spent on these items.