Americans pay more in taxes than food, clothing, education and health care — combined

Sep 16, 2022, 9:30 PM

a tax form, 1040, is often used to file taxes...

Tax day is April 18, 2023. (Photo credit: Getty Images.)

(Photo credit: Getty Images.)

SALT LAKE CITY — Death and taxes (two things no one can dodge) or taxed to death. On average in 2021, American consumer units* spent $15,495 on food, clothing and healthcare combined — less than the $16,729 spent on taxes, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Americans Spent More on Taxes Last Year Than on Food, Health Care, Education, and Clothing Combined

If that weren’t enough, there’s another shocker: April 23 is Tax Freedom Day  — the day on which Americans have worked long enough in order to pay their share of the country’s tax burden. 

Surprise! You Work Nearly 4 Months Every Year Just to Pay Taxes

Let’s talk taxes

KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic are all fired up about the news from the BLS.

“Every dollar you earn is taxed like 12 different ways,” Dave said, listing the taxes:

  • State income,
  • Federal income,
  • FICA Social Security,
  • Medicaid & Medicare.

“Of that remaining 75, 80 cents, every time you buy something, that’s gonna be taxed,” he said. He also mentioned these levies:

  • Hotel-room tax,
  • capital-gain tariff,
  • death tax and
  • RAMP tax (recreation arts, museums and parks).

* As reported by Reason, the BLS measures spending per “consumer unit,” which it describes as either:

  1. all members of a particular household who are related by blood, marriage, adoption or other legal arrangements;
  2. persons living alone or sharing a household with others or living as a roomer in a private home or lodging house or in a permanent living quarters in a hotel or motel, but who is financially independent; or
  3. two or more person living together who use their income to make joint expenditure decisions.”

“How much are we paying in taxes?” Debbie asked. “Last year, $16,729 of total taxes [on average were paid] to federal, state and local governments. American consumer units — as they’re referred to — [spent] an average of $15,495 on food, clothing and healthcare combined.”

For a total of $ 32,224 spent on taxes, food, clothing, education and healthcare in 2021. If your salary is $100,000, that leaves you with $5,666 a month.

Bureau lowballing its data, says Debbie

“So if you boil it down the taxes, you’re spending $8,500 in federal income taxes, $5,500 on Social Security taxes, $2,500 in state and local income taxes, $2,400 in property taxes and $105 in other taxes. I think that’s low. I also think what’s low is the $1,700 a year they’re telling us we’re we’re spending on our clothing. No way. Where are you shopping?

“They’re [BLS] are just calculating the numbers. I think it’s worse. I think we’re spending a lot more on those three necessities and probably on taxes as well. Because $105 in other taxes seems low. You pay that just in one purchase sometimes if you make a big purchase,” said Debbie.

Both Dave and Debbie agreed the BLS data on how much the average American pays in tax is a good example of where your money goes. Your federal income tax also goes to pay for this:

In Fiscal Year 2021, the national debt was $28.4 trillion in Total Debt. By 2032, the net-interest costs are expected to rise to $1.2 trillion annually or about $7,500 for each US taxpayer.


Amid rising prices, should Utah dump state income tax?

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Dave & Dujanovic

olympic fashion in 2024, an example of team usa's uniform is shown...

Curt Gresseth

2024 U.S. Olympic fashion: Classic or predictable?

Are the U.S. 2024 Olympic uniforms the height of fashion or predictable, clichéd and boring?

4 days ago

Republican nominee Celeste Maloy wins Utah's 2nd Congressional District....

Adam Small

Rep. Celeste Maloy talks Republican National Convention, primary election recount

Utah Rep. Celeste Maloy said she still doesn't know if she's won the republican nomination for the Utah second congressional district house seat

5 days ago

A yellow air taxi flies across a building in a conceptual rendering....

Mariah Maynes

What’s the future of Utah transportation? One expert says air taxis

Utah is among the fastest-growing states in the U.S. Could air taxis be the answer for getting people around during the Olympics?

11 days ago

Alec Baldwin trial...

Amie Schaeffer

Alec Baldwin involuntary manslaughter trial begins in New Mexico

Alec Baldwin involuntary manslaughter trial begins with jury selection on Tuesday July 9, 2024 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

12 days ago

Peter Salm, a family member of a fatal road rage victim, shakes hands with Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Wood...

Kyle Remund

New road rage law aims to curb future incidents

Initially passed this spring, the law provides for harsher penalties for road rage incidents in an effort to prevent more violence.

13 days ago

someone taps on facebook icon, utah lawmakers working to protect kids from social media...

Curt Gresseth

Utah lawmaker talks about his work to shield kids from social media

State Sen. Mike McKell discusses the legislation he has sponsored to undo the harm to Utah children from social media.

30 days ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

Americans pay more in taxes than food, clothing, education and health care — combined