I spend 4 minutes every day working for the Department of Agriculture. And you probably do, too.

2 May

As today was my first day at my new job, I spent a lot of time filling out forms.  How many exemptions am I claiming on my taxes?  What percent of my income do I want to put into my 401(k)?  Do I want to participate in a flexible spending plan?  So, really, I spent a lot of time thinking about my income and how best to maximize it and, depressingly, how a larger part of it is going to taxes than ever before.  Apparently, since I got a raise Uncle Sam did, too.

My thinking about this today gives me the perfect intro to introduce you to some cool interactive infographics that I came across this weekend.  (Seriously, interactive inforgraphics are like the highlight of the Internet!)

The Data Viz Challenge, which brought about the creation of these beautiful infographics defined itself as such:

Every year, Americans fill out income tax forms and make a payment to the IRS. It’s an important civic duty, but it is also a lot of money. Where does it all go? Using data provided by WhatWePayFor.com, we challenged artists, coders, and the general public to create data visualizations that would make it easier for U.S. citizens to understand how the government spends our tax money.

The Data Viz Challenge links to all of the entrants.  Although some are more pretty than informative, others really help you to think about taxes and the role of the government.  Since the entries all break you tax burden into the specific government programs that your income goes to support, it leads you to think is that program is really worth that much to you.  (Most of them allow you to enter your income so that you can see, for example, that I will spend a full 12 working days a year working in support of National Defense or that 4 minutes of every one of my work days goes to support the Department of Agriculture.)  So, check them out.  I would highly recommend the winner, Where Did My Tax Dollars Go, and one of the runners up, Tax Mapper.   So, check it out and be rather impressed with or depressed by (shouldn’t the prepositions be parallel on those?) your government at work.


MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new in the world of Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about Internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a whole new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

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