I paid $8,272 in federal taxes last year, and here, according to ThirdWay.org, is where my tax money went (based on 2011 information, they did not have 2012 info up. My figures are also slightly off since I pay self-employment taxes for social security purposes):
Thirdway has been promoting the idea that everyone should receive a receipt for their taxes from the federal government so that people would truly understand where their money was going. If this happened it would stop politicians from spouting about how they are going to balance the budget by doing things like cutting funding to the NEA and PBS (.1%) of the budget. Congress could no longer lie to us and make blatantly stupid suggestions because we would know better. But, until the average person truly understands what the federal budget actually looks like then we can never really have honest dialogue about spending cuts/increases.
President Obama did pledge to make this information available, and you can find it here. The problem with this one is many fold. First, they too only have 2011 up, and second you have to know what you paid in social security, medicare and federal income taxes separately, which I am sure most people do not know, and they are not going to take the time to find out. Finally, I also doubt that few people were even going to the website to use it, versus if everyone just automatically received this from the IRS.
I receive a statement from social security every year laying out what I have paid in and what my pay out is expected to be every year, so why can't the IRS do something similar and say this is what you paid in and this is where your money went? I can name one reason and that is because many politicians do not want you to know where your money went.