The chart "Where your money goes" (Parade Magazine, March 16, Page 14) masks what is really going on in the federal government. It parses the budget to make it look like defense is the second-largest expenditure, dwarfing everything else but Social Security.
The Constitution provides that only Congress can spend money and only in three categories: "to pay debts," "to provide for the common defense" and the "general welfare of the United States." In that light, the IRS says we spend 8 percent on the interest for the national debt (little, if any, on retiring it), 19 percent on the armed forces (even in a time of war) and the remaining 73 percent on the catch-all category "welfare of the United States."
So when you file your 1040 this year, remember that 73 cents of every federal tax dollar you pay is going to some congressman's pet agenda that Congress managed to fit into the category "welfare of the United States."