Money

Cardi B demands to know where her taxes go—here's the answer

Cardi B attends the Marc Jacobs Fall 2018 fashion show during New York Fashion Week at Park Avenue Armory on February 14, 2018 in New York City.
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Cardi B attends the Marc Jacobs Fall 2018 fashion show during New York Fashion Week at Park Avenue Armory on February 14, 2018 in New York City.

Cardi B might be making "money moves" but she's not happy that so much of that money goes to Uncle Sam and she's not sure what she gets in exchange.

The Bronx-bred rapper reveals that 40 percent of her income goes to taxes in a video posted to Instagram that immediately began going viral. Yet city streets are still dirty, she points out, while subways are rat-infested and prisoners live in sordid conditions.

Taking all this into account, Cardi has one question for the government: "I want to know what you're doing with my f------- money."

The rapper's post caught on with celebrities, too: P. Diddy chimed in and also demanded answers. So we got them for you. Here's where your money goes.

Federal taxes

According to the Peterson Foundation, a lot of your federal tax dollars go to the military, which accounts for roughly half of all discretionary spending in America. As of April 2017, the U.S. spent $611 billion on defense which, the foundation points out, is "more than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined."

Education makes up 6 percent of discretionary spending and another 6 percent goes to additional Medicare and health accounts.

The rest of your tax dollars are divvied up among mandatory spending priorities, which make up nearly two-thirds of the total federal budget. These include health care initiatives, social security, transportation and anti-poverty programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

"Social Security alone comprises more than a third of mandatory spending and around 23 percent of the total federal budget. Medicare makes up an additional 23 percent of mandatory spending and 15 percent of the total federal budget," reports the National Priorities Project.

State taxes

Cardi B specifically calls out New York state, which has one of the highest tax rates in the country and which sends more money to the federal government than it gets back.

"I'm from New York … we were voted the dirtiest city in America," says Cardi. "What is y'all doing?"

Here's what the state is doing: According to the state budget office, taxes account for 79 percent of its proposed $100 billion operating fund. School aid and Medicaid account for nearly half of all spending and the rest goes to higher education, mental hygiene, transportation and other categories.

City taxes

Some state taxes also trickle down to New York City, where Cardi lives. However, those who live in the Big Apple must pay a separate city income tax in addition to the state income tax, and the city's income tax makes up a solid chunk of its budget.

As with the state, most of NYC's spending goes to education, health care and social services for its 8.6 million residents.

Cardi may have a point about the subway's shoddy conditions, though: Just 4 percent of the state's estimated budget goes toward transportation. And while daily ridership has nearly doubled over the last two decades, the city's contribution to MTA operations has dropped by almost 75 percent, according to a recent New York Times investigation.

The rapper's Instagram rant has since received more than four million likes and over 37,000 comments. Although the video likely took off because it's funny and frank, its popularity also suggests that many Americans care, and want to know more, about how their tax dollars are spent.

"When you donate to a kid in a foreign country, they give you updates [on] what they're doing with your donation," explains Cardi, and she presses the government to do the same. "I want to know. I want receipts."

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