The text book is essential to completing the assignment
The Public Sector
Policy Basics: Where Do Our Federal Tax Dollars Go?
on Budget and Policy Prio
rities, March 11, 2015
Government Revenue and Expenditures
Source for Federal Government Revenue and Expenditures
This link takes you to the data from Historical Tables:
Several good articles here
Start with “Tax Systems”, it covers
benefits received and ability to pay
principles of taxation.
around at other articles you find interesting.
April 6, 2015
In this assignment you will learn to:
Describe changes in governments spending over time
the largest federal government expenditures and revenue sources
Compare US government expenditures and taxation to those in other countries
Contrast progressive, regressive, and proportional taxation
Contrast the average tax rate and marginal tax rate
lain why certain taxes are progressive or regressive
Explain the majority rule problem
Describe the special
interest group effect
Explain rational voter ignorance
Explain bureaucratic efficiency
Describe the shortsightedness effect
There is a lot of misunderstanding about government spending and taxation. Many people
believe government is too big, growing too fast, and taxes are always going up. This chapter
gives you some facts about spending and taxes so you can make up your own mi
nd. You will
also learn about the
when it allocates resources
through the political process.
Sample Quiz questions
2 through 8
, 14, 15, and 17
through 20 are good practice
for this assignment. Answers are in the back of the textbook.
Total government spending is about 38% of GDP. Use Exhibit 1 to calculate what
percentage of GDP is spent by the federal government and what percentage is spent by
state and local governments. 2 points
Use Exhibit 6 to answer this question. How have taxes as a percent of GDP changed since
the end of WWII?
Which has changed more, state and local taxes or federal taxes? 3 points
Look at “
Policy Basics: Where
Federal Tax Dollars Go?”
and Exhibit 2 in the
Note how Income Security has become the largest type of federal spending.
What exactly is included in Income Security? What do you think might have caused the
growth in spending in this category?
Articles at this link will help with questions
4 and 5
Suppose the government placed a tax on cigarettes and used the money to treat lung
cancer patients. Explain how this ta
x based would be an example of the benefits received
principle. 5 points
how the Federal income tax follows the ability to pay principle.
If you got a $1000 bonus in your paycheck and you wanted to know how much extra
tax you have
to pay would you use the average tax rate or
the marginal tax rate?
of the following 5 points:
a. Explain why the Social Security (payroll) tax is regressive.
. Explain why sales taxes are regressive.
of the following. 5 points
government projects are put to a vote to “let the people decide”. Explain why a
majority of voters might
reject a project where benefits are greater than costs
why politicians support programs that only
a small number of people
in a special interest group
Why don’t voters vote against these politicians?
In Michigan voters elect the state Board of Education. Explain why most voters will be
uninformed about the candidates for the Board.
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