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The Majority of American Families Receive More in Federal Spending than They Pay in Federal Taxes

1 min readBy: Andrew Lundeen, Scott Hodge

Collectively, families in the bottom three income groups— those earning under $67,456—are net beneficiaries of government spending. This means that as a group, the majority of American families receive more back in government spending than they pay in federal taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. es of all kinds.

The lowest-income families receive an average of $8.13 in federal spending for every $1 that they pay in federal taxes, while the next-lowest gets $2.96, and middle-income families receive $1.57. Meanwhile, upper-income families are net contributors to government. Those at the top of the middle-class receive $0.83 back for every dollar they pay in taxes, while high-income families receive $0.25.

These findings come from our new report, The Distribution of Tax and Spending Policies in the United States. Read more here and here.

For more charts like the one above, see the second edition of our chart book, Putting a Face on America’s Tax Returns.