Can someone explain to me this?
I pay income tax on my earnings (a hefty %).
Then with that after tax money, I have to pay sales tax when I eat at restaurants or buy stuff at stores.
Also with that after tax money, I have to pay real estate tax and personal property tax (car).
...and don't even get me started on Social Security. I'll never get a penny of it but I am paying for it.
Here's what ticks me off even more.
I have a friend, bless his soul, who gets food stamp credit cards, money for his baby (food & diapers).
What's maddening is that he and his employer has agreed to pay everything off the books (in cash - illegal) and he gets to report an income well below what he gets in cash.
Doesn't pay income tax, doesn't pay social, etc.
Just a big effing crack in the system and people are probably abusing the heck out of this!
About 60% of your federal tax burden (and by this I include income, social security, FICA, etc. since there's no sensible reason to distinguish between them) goes towards what is called non-discretionary spending: social security, medicare, medicaid, interest on the national debt. Aside from interest, the bulk supports the elderly. Medicaid, of course, supports the poor, but it's the smallest of these programs and also one of the more humane things we do. Also, you're not "paying into" social security. You're supporting current beneficiaries, again, mainly older people.
Of the remaining 40% of federal spending, 25pp's goes to the military. One can, of course (and I do), question the wisdom of this, but it's hardly social welfare. So, only 15% of federal spending is non-defense, non-discretionary spending. This covers the full range of government activities from building roads to NASA to the Commerce Department and so on. There's really not a lot in there for freeloaders.
On a state level, you live in Virginia, so your marginal income rates are pretty low. Your real estate and personal property taxes are assessed on a local level (presumably Fairfax or Arlington) and go mainly to support your local schools, which are very highly rated and contribute to inflating the value of your house, making you a direct beneficiary even if you don't have kids.
There's loads to gripe about in the US tax system, but for me its mainly its complexity and insufficient progressivity. By any global comparison the effective rates are rather low. (says the guy, btw, who is moving to zero-income-tax Dubai tomorrow)