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Where our tax dollars go, in two charts

at 01:38 PM ET, 04/17/2012

This being tax day, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is naturally going wild with colorful tax charts. You can see their full assorted library here, but the charts below offer a useful primer of how our tax dollars are actually divvied up at the state and federal level. Here’s the chart for how states spend money:

Note that states spend, on average, about as much on transportation as they do on prisons — about 5 percent. Public assistance for the poor, meanwhile, makes up about 1 percent of state budgets if you don’t include Medicaid. (Also, if you can’t read the graph, the “all other” category includes care for residents with disabilities, pensions and health benefits for public employees, economic development, environmental projects, state police, parks and aid to local governments.)

Now here’s the chart for the federal level:

A full 60 percent of the federal budget goes to national defense and the the big social insurance programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Related: The taxes Americans really pay, in two graphs

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