What Could Americans Buy with the $4.5 Trillion They Pay in Taxes?

April 10, 2014

Americans will pay $4.5 trillion in taxes in 2014 according to our new Tax Freedom Day report.

$4.5 trillion seems like a lot of money but when dealing in the billions and trillions it’s easy to lose any context of how much money that truly is. To put that number into perspective, here are some examples of what taxpayers could by with that $4.5 trillion (excluding tax, of course):

At a cost of $45,000 a night (yes, $45,000 a night), the penthouse at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City provides a night of luxury to its guests with a 360-degree view of the city and a $65,000 bed.  America’s tax bill of $4.5 trillion could buy 100 million one night stays. That would book up the room for the next 273,973 years.

An iPhone 5s is priced from $199 and up. At that price, America could buy over 22.6 billion iPhones. That’s over three iPhones for everyone in the world.

A Chipotle burrito typically costs around $7. $4.5 trillion could buy 642.9 billion burritos. That’s enough for 5 and a half burritos a day for the country’s estimated 318 million people.

An annual subscription to the New York Times costs $439.40 a year. At that cost, we could afford over 10 billion subscriptions to the Times.

We could buy 643.8 billion pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream at $6.99 a pint. That’s a lot of flavors.

We could never want for entertainment ever again. At a cost of $7.99 a month, we could buy 563.2 billion monthly subscriptions to Netflix, or over 148 years of Netflix subscriptions, for everyone in America.

An iPad 2 with 16GB cost $399. At that cost, the amount we pay in taxes could by 11.3 billion iPads, or enough for 35 per person in America. That’s just about cover a new iPad for every American every ten days.

A 30 second Super Bowl commercial cost $4 million in 2014. At that price, $4.5 trillion could buy 1,125,000 advertising slots, or over 390 days’ worth of Super Bowl advertisements. At least some are funny, right?

So, to sum this up, the U.S. 2014 tax bill of $4.5 trillion could pay for:

  • 100 million nights in America’s most expensive hotel
  • 22.6 billion iPhones, or three for everyone in the world
  • 642.9 billion Chipotle burritos, or enough for 5.5 burritos a day for every American
  • 10.2 billion subscriptions to the New York Times
  • 643.8 billion pints of Haagen-Dazs
  • 563.2 billion monthly subscriptions to Netflix or 148 years of Netflix subscriptions for everyone in America
  • 11.3 billion iPads, or enough for 35 per person in America
  • 1,125,000 Super Bowl commercial time slots, or over 390 days’ worth of Super Bowl advertisements

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