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...
A hypothetical family, the Beehives, is used to show what the tax burden a typical family in Utah would pay. 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.

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