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Episode 33: Time to spend the Cabbage

How the Government spends its money with Mak & G
Episode 33: Time to spend the Cabbage


This “Money With Mak and G” podcast episode, Mak & G look at the different things the Government spends its money on, how the Federal Government and State Governments spend their money differently, and how much they spend on interest payments each year.


The US Government collects over 3 trillion dollars in taxes every year!

That’s a lot of money, so what do they spend it all on?


This episode, Mak & G look at how the Federal Government and State Governments spend their money differently, which areas they spend the most money on, and why it’s so important they have all this money to spend…


“The top two things you look for in Fortnite covers most of the money that the Government spends.” – Ben Jones


“Maybe we shouldn’t borrow as much!” Mak

Time Stamps:

03:40 – How many different types of cheeses exist.

05:28 – How the Federal Government and State Governments spend their money differently.

06:10 – How the Federal Government spends most of its money.

07:39 – The biggest expense the Government has.

08:20 – Medicare and Medicaid.

09:03 – The cost of providing social security.

09:45 – How the Government helps people without a job.

10:38 – Other places the Government spends money.

11:17 – How the Government spends more money than it makes.

11:59 – How much the Government spends on interest every year.

12:33 – How much money the Government collects from taxes.

Connect with Ben Jones:



GRANT: Our tax calculation is done, we paid our taxes, and we should be past “Freedom Tax Day”.


MAK: Yeah, a big sigh of relief. Dad’s feeling better, and things are back on track.


GRANT: Definitely better, and great to have that behind us.


MAK: So, what do you think the government does now?


GRANT: What do you mean?


MAK: Ok, the federal government just collected $3.5 Trillion, and it’s probably burning a hole in their pocket.


GRANT: Yeah, if it were me, I’d be so excited to even think about that much money. That would be so awesome.


MAK: I could literally buy enough chocolate to stack it to the moon and back 100 times. YUMMMY!!!


GRANT: I could buy over 60 billion games. And, if I played them for a minute a piece, it would take me 30 years if I didn’t sleep. That’s awesome!!!!


MAK: Well, we won’t get the money to spend, but it’s really fun to think about. There are about 330 million people in the US who are counting on the government to spend it wisely.


GRANT: Yeah, I know, but if I spent it, I would make a lot of kids, teenagers and some adults very happy with free video games.


MAK: And, they would ALL be happywith a little chocolate in their tummies”…


GRANT: Do you have any idea what all that cabbage is spent on? I calculated that it would weigh one MILLION TONS, and you’d need over 44,000 eighteen-wheeled trucks to carry it all.


MAK: Holy cow, that’s a lot. I think it would probably be spent on a whole bunch of “adult stuff”, I’m sure.


GRANT: Yeah, but I want to know where it goes. It’s our money, right? Or at least dad’s money.


MAK: Agree. So, where does the federal government in Washington spend it?


GRANT: Got me. But, they probably don’t spend it on specific local projects, like the park across the street. This is new for me, and I think it’s going to be interesting.


MAK: I agree, but the park does need a new baseball field and swing set. I know who could help us figure this out…


GRANT: Me too…


MAK/GRANT: Dad!!! How do you spend $3.5 Trillion?


MAK: What is that smell?


GRANT: Dad, I thought you said you’d take a shower today. You DO know you’re quarantined for Corona with OTHER people?


DAD: Well, I’m enjoying myself a bit. The taxes are done, and I deserve a little down time.


MAK: Seriously? What is that? It smells like you took your workout clothes from last week, dipped them in the toilet, and let them sit a couple more weeks in the sun baking.


DAD: Ouch, that hurts. My sweat smells like roses. It’s not me.


GRANT: Are you sure something didn’t die in here, like a small elephant? You do know this is where we eat.


DAD: Oh, come on, it’s not that bad.


MAK: Are you really drinking wine with that smell?


DAD: Well, I thought Grant wouldn’t mind. Have you ever smelt his room when he hasn’t picked up his socks for a week?


GRANT: Dad, this is a whole new level of smell. Kind of the same intensity as the Grim Reaper pepper is hot.


DAD: Well, after thinking about the last podcast on taxes, you mentioned a French guy who invented the parachute.


MAK: How does that have anything to do with this SMELL?


DAD: Here it comes… You can put the tray right there. Thanks honey!!!


GRANT: O…M…G… that is awful!! It smells like farts!


MAK: Mom’s even got a clothespin on her nose. I think I’m going to gag!!


DAD: Isn’t it great. STINKY CHEESE baby, I got a couple from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and more.


GRANT: Oh, gross!!


MAK: Some of those smell horrible, and some just “LOOK” nasty, what are they?


DAD: I have Monster, Brie, Limbergur, stinking bishop, I like that one’s name, and a couple others. Several are raised in a cold cellar and the outside of the cheese is washed with salt water.


GRANT: They probably put them in a cellar because they look and smell nasty. Ever thought of that?


DAD: Well, I don’t care. France has over 1,600 cheeses. Heaven, I say, sheer heaven. And, there are about 50 blue cheeses out there. Do you know my favorite?


MAK/GRANT: Roquefort. WE KNOW!!!


DAD: And, right there in the middle is a big slice of it. Look at all that blue. Lots of penicillium in that one. And, when I was in France…


MAK: We know, “BnB” every day. A baguette and blue. Your bread and cheese fix.


GRANT: After eating it, you probably had lots of gas, and came up with the name “AirBnB”.


DAD: Ha ha funny. So, what do you guys want, other than harassing me? Did you mention trillions of dollars?


MAK: We did. Now that you’re done with taxes, and the government is paid, what do they spend all that money on?


DAD: The federal government tries to spend money that helps the entire country, while state and local governments usually focus on more specific items closer to home.


MAK: Told you!




DAD: Ok, let’s not get in a fight. Do either of you have any ideas of what the federal government might pay for?


MAK: Not sure, but they probably put together a budget first?


DAD: Excellent point. They will estimate tax revenue and where to spend it. Income Taxes are the biggest part of taxes but not everything. So, any ideas where they spend it?


MAK: No clue.


GRANT: Nada.


MAK: Zilch.


GRANT: Zippo.


MAK: Zero.


DAD: Ok, so you don’t know. The federal government spends most of it taking care of people. Grant, crazy enough, the government pays for stuff you try to get in your battle video games…


MAK: If that’s true, Grant will nail this.


DAD: Ok, after watching you, I think the top two things you look for in Fortnite covers most of the money spent by the federal government.


GRANT: No way.


DAD: Yep. Give me the first one you search for?


GRANT: Well, you have to have a good weapon.


MAK: That can’t be one, can it?


DAD: Actually, that’s part of defending our country.


GRANT: Our cousin Jenna is in the Navy. Would the federal government pay for that part of our defense too?


MAK: And, does that mean all those people in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines? Would it cover all the tanks, boats, planes and guns too?


DAD: It pays for all the weapons and those in the armed forces. A state couldn’t pay all the money needed to keep the country safe and secure, that’s why the federal government does it.


GRANT: That’s got to be a big number.


DAD: Yep, it’s getting close to $700 Billion dollars, but it changes each year. It’s about 15% of the total budget. However, that’s not the biggest.


MAK: Ok, so what’s the biggest?


DAD: Grant, what’s something else you look for that’s important when trying to stay alive in your battle games?


GRANT: Well, it’s got to be “heals”.


DAD: Did you say “meals”?


MAK: Dad, he said “heals” like short for “healing”.


DAD: That’s perfect. So, you’re searching for medical power to keep you healthy. Well, the government spends our taxes to help take care of people. Healthcare is the biggest expense.


GRANT: Is “healthcare” like “heals”?


DAD: If it’s something to heal you when you are sick or hurt, “yes”. Ok, do you remember when grandma Harris went break dancing.


MAK: What are you talking about? She’s never done that.


DAD: Well, she did break her hip, dancing, right? So, she was hurt and went to get a hip replacement.


GRANT: Ok, dad. She did not fall, she hurt her hip while walking.


DAD: Ok, but I LOVE teasing grandma Harris. She’s probably listening now. Well, grandma, like many older Americans, has something called Medicare, which is short for Medical Care insurance for those over 65.


MAK: So the federal government pays for that insurance which covers some medical costs ?


DAD: Yep. And, if you’re in need of Medical Aid, because you don’t have money, there’s something called Medicaid for short. This is covered by the state AND federal government.


GRANT: So, how much is the healthcare for those who are older and those who don’t have enough money to pay for themselves?


DAD: Well, that’s over $1.2 Trillion, which is about twice the amount we spend on Defence and the military.


MAK: Sounds like those three add up to more than half of all federal taxes collected!


GRANT: But, it is great to see that people are being taken care of!!


DAD: Agree. The next big one is Social Security, which isn’t in your game. It’s a way of giving those who stop working when they’re older a little “security” that they’ll have money to buy food, clothes and housing.


MAK: So, our grandmas get money from the government for Social Security?


DAD: They sure do. But, they pay special taxes from their paycheck throughout their life. The government holds onto it, and gives it back in small amounts when we’re older.


GRANT: Is that to make sure older people have some money? That’s when they retire after working for many years?


DAD: It is, and that’s almost another trillion dollars.


MAK: That sounds like the biggest one.


DAD: If you don’t combine Medicare and Medicaid into one amount for health care, it absolutely is. There is also money to help others who don’t have much money or who have lost their jobs too.


MAK: I would think helping others is good. Who are those people?


DAD: Well, there are food stamps, which act like money, so people who don’t have much money can buy food.


GRANT: Those sound like great programs. What if you lost your job and can’t find one?


DAD: If you were employed, and lost your job, then you’re “unemployed”. When that happens, both federal and state together give you money to help get you through until you find another job.


MAK: Ok, so we have defense, healthcare, money for old people who retire and unemployment insurance.


GRANT: Mak, Social Security is the “money for old people”.


MAK: Yeah, right, I forgot. They get money so they have “security” so they can buy food, clothing and other stuff.


DAD: There are two more. The first has several items in it together.


GRANT: What’s that?


DAD: Money is used to build stuff we all use like roads, sewage, water and electrical systems. Then, there’s money for scientific research, education and other stuff.


MAK: Ok. I know what roads, water and electricity is, but what’s sewage?


DAD: It’s how we pump out and handle all the poop and pee that comes out of our toilets.


GRANT: Gross.


DAD: You asked…


MAK: Would any of this money go to fight diseases like Corona?


DAD: Yep, that would be where scientists study diseases. That’s called scientific research. It’s pretty important.


GRANT: Well, I’m glad they spend some money on that.


DAD: I’m saving the best for last. Our government doesn’t live by the budget they put together and spend more money than we take in.


MAK: So, how does the government make up the difference?


DAD: Well, they can actually do one of two things. They can just print more money or borrow it.


GRANT: They can seriously turn on a printing press and make more money?


DAD: Yep, but that requires a bit more explanation, so we need to cover that another time. The second thing they can do is sell bonds.


MAK: I remember that from another podcast. If they sell you a bond, you give them money, and they promise to return it in the future with interest.


GRANT: So that’s a loan. Whoever buys the bond gives the government money, and the government pays it back. So, how much do we pay in interest for these bonds?


DAD: About $350 billion.


MAK: Ouch! Maybe we should not borrow as much?


DAD: Well, sometimes the government likes to spend money. We’ll see that in our next podcast, it’s scary to me. So, just wait and see.


GRANT: Ok, I’m done. I can’t handle any more spending for one day.


MAK: Same for me. Talk to you later dad. And, don’t forget to brush your teeth after your stinky cheese party..


DAD: I will, I promise. Maybe a little mouthwash too.


MAK: Perfect.


MAK/GRANT: Thanks Dad!!!


Ben’s 2 Cents

The federal government collects $3.5 Trillion in taxes. The biggest amount collected is from income tax, and after that is all those payroll taxes for social security and Medicare as we spoke about. However, the government tends to spend more than it takes in. Depending on the year and what’s going on, it can be a lot. Some figures show an approximate $900 Billion overspending in 2019.

For our own personal budget that leads to debt, which makes it harder the following year to stay within our budget. This is primarily due to interest payments, which we touched on. Or, printing more money. That requires a slightly longer discussion.

Overall, we have Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security and Defence spending make up the biggest portion. There is definitely money spent on infrastructure, which are roads, buildings, water/sewage and electrical systems along with education and other items. The big takeaway is that about 70% is mandatory spending for the items we are committed to. That doesn’t leave us much flexibility.


As we’ll find out in our next podcast, government spending can go through the roof. But, it will mean printing money or taking on debt in the form of government bonds. This is a great podcast to understand more about our government, and I hope it helps to understand where all the money goes.


Thanks for being here. And remember to subscribe, like and give us your comments. Yippee, we love those!! And, we’ll see you next time for another episode of Money with Mak & G, with great money insights for you and your family. BYE!!!

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