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A billion here, a billion there, sooner
or later it adds up to real money
- Senator Everett Dirksen

Americans have just paid their annual tribute to the federal government known as the income tax. Some lucky citizens will even get a refund - although they will not receive any interest on the money that was held by the government. Many unlucky taxpayers had to cough up more dough for the feds to squander.

While April 15th may be the day income taxes are due, we must all pony up cash to the feds everyday. There are the exise taxes, tariffs, and corporate taxes that are embedded in every purchase you make. Of course, there is the most insidious tax of all - inflation. This also contributes to the high cost of living and is caused by the government printing presses cranking out fiat dollars.

So, you might wonder just where all the billions of dollars go that the feds take from you (or print up). First, it might be useful to understand what your share is of each billion dollars the government spends. There are nearly 299 million people in America, according to the Census Bureau, and if you divide one billion dollars by 299 million people, you will find each American's share of one billion dollars spent is $3.34.

Now, when you hear on the news that Bush says he needs another $50 billion to eliminate evil in Iraq, you know that he wants about $167 from you and everyone else you know. The federal government needs a lot of cash protect us all from evil, poverty, and ourselves. In fact, it costs each one of us about $9,250 based on a budget of $2.77 trillion.

The $9,250 doesn't include all the pot holes, bad schools, surly bureaucrats, and prison beds provided by local and state governments. That costs extra. But the $9,250 does include the $1,270 interest payment that is your share of the interest payment on the national debt of $8.4 trillion.

Your $9,250 share of the federal budget also includes about $2,800 for defense of the homeland from foreign invaders. The $2,800 is based on a total of $840 billion which is the total estimated cost of the defense budget and other defense related items - including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The $2,800 also includes much of the money spent to antagonize, provoke, and create foreign enemies.

The federal government will also use your $9,250 share of the $2.77 trillion budget to pay for Social Security - but you might get some of that back and if you are lucky, it might even be enough to pay part of your heating bill. Of course, the rate of return on the "investment" you make in payments into the Social Security system aren't as much as you'd get if you put in a simple savings account - but bureacrats need jobs and they ain't cheap.

Medicare and Medicaid are also paid for from your $9,250 share of the budget. The good news is that the fraud and waste are also included - you don't have to pay extra for that unless you use the health care system.

The feds also provide us with tons of pork to make our lives better. The cost of the fatback is estimated to be only $29 billion for 2006. That only comes out to less than $100 each for things like studying fish and berrys. This pork, often known as earmarks, helps build bridges to nowhere and renovate buildings owned by private parties.

I'm sure you feel better now about paying your taxes knowing that the federal government is spending your money wisely. Be sure to remember all the wonderful things you get from the feds the next time you make a purchase at the store and start to complain about high prices. The next time you fill up your gas tank and whine about soaring fuel costs, just remember that there are fish that need studying and evil that needs to be eliminated.

This article contributed by Tom Blanton of Richmond, Virginia.