In an expletive-laden video she shared on social media, New York rapper Belcalis Almanzar -- known to her fans as Cardi B -- ranted about tax policy, asking the government to account for the taxes it exacts from her earnings. Raised in the Bronx, the New York rapper said that she pays 40 percent of her income in taxes. Pointing out that streets in New York City are dirty and subways are blighted by rats, Cardi demanded, "I want to know what you're doing with my f------- money."

The rapper noted, "when you donate to a kid in a foreign country, they give you updates on what they're doing with your donation....I want updates on my tax money." "I'm from New York … we were voted the dirtiest city in America," says Cardi. "What is y'all doing?"

Once her video made the rounds on social media and networks, Cardi B wrote on Instagram that she can’t believe her video made the news. She wrote, “A lot of people responded to this video like they spend our tax money in welfare, SSI, military but how do you know though? Where is the prove? My neighborhood still look like shit! They can’t even afford to put metal detectors in ALL the schools but we have money for a wall and war.” She added, “Don’t mind me though, I’m just a ex stripper with bad grammar and heavy accent.”

Cardi B’s sentiments got a boost from celebrity rapper P. Diddy who also wants to know where his tax dollars go.

Where tax dollars go

The Peterson Foundation reports that about half of all discretionary spending by the federal government is spent on the military. As of April 2017, the federal government spent $611 billion on defense. According to the foundation, this amounts to "more than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined."

According to the National Priorities Project, "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." While education constitutes 6 percent of discretionary spending and another 6 percent goes to additional Medicare and health accounts, the rest of the tax dollars are spent on mandated spending priorities that make up nearly two-thirds of the total federal budget. These include health care, transportation, and anti-poverty programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

In the $1.3 trillion budget signed by President Trump on Friday, the military took the lion’s share: $726 billion or 65 percent of total federal spending. Veterans get $81 billion (7 percent), while education gets $59 billion (5 percent).

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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