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September 14, 2021

How much did the average US taxpayer pay for the military equipment abandoned in Afghanistan?

Most reports say that we abandoned $85 billion in equipment. According to the IRS, in 2020 there were 150 million personal tax returns filed. The simple math on that (wait, no one said there would be math!) is that 85 billion divided by 150 million is $567. That doesn’t sound too bad. It’s less than my booze budget for the month. But let’s dig deeper. Caution – more math ahead, but I will be rounding to simple numbers. Some of my assumptions are SWAGs, so no need to take it to the penny.

Let’s look at the numerator of $85 billion. Every report I have seen describes this as the cost of the equipment. Some questions:

1. How much did it cost to ship all that stuff there?
2. What about spare parts and the cost of third part maintenance contractors?
3. How much did it cost to move that equipment (and contractors) around the country to where it was needed?
4. What about the 10% for the “Big Guy”? In this case, the big guys were Afghani politicians and a bunch of their minions, tribal chieftains, and who knows who else was on the gravy train.

I’m going to assume that all that stuff is another $15 billion. Now we have a nice round number of $100 billion.

How about the denominator? There is no way that all those 150 million returns actually paid taxes. Back in 2012, Mittens said that 47% of Americans were getting a free ride. He didn’t even mention illegals. There is no data about this on the IRS website, but there was a recent report that 63% of filers owed no taxes (and probably got money back to boot). So only 37% of returns filed actually paid something. 37% of 150 million is 55.5 million filers who paid. $100 billion divided by 55.5 million comes out to be $1,800 and change.

But wait! It gets better. According to the IRS, the top 50% of wage earners pay approximately 95% of all taxes. So, 95% of $100 Billion is $95 Billion. 50% of 55.5 million filers is 27.75 million filers. $95 billion divided by 27.75 million come out $3,400 and change. The median annual US income in 2020 was $68,400. Don’t you feel better about that $3,400 now? That’s almost six months of my booze budget!

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posted by Open Blogger at 05:00 PM

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