It feels like every soundbite that I hear recently is about our personal, state, or national debt and insolvency. Friends will quip about our indenturship to the Chinese; white-haired uncles bemoan a sea-change that’s left America a harder country to realize one’s dreams than when they first set foot some thirty years ago; and Facebook friends from back home insist that the Land of Opportunity is at least a few solid timezones away from where I am.

That got me thinking about where our government spends money, and more importantly, where I spend money. It is, after all, both personal and national expenditure that the Chinese purchase of US bonds helps. It didn’t take me long to realize that my largest expense each year is taxes - by far. And by “far”, I mean more than the price of my new car “far”.

A little bothered, I started researching where all my tax money really goes. And I found the following receipt on Ezra Klein’s blog post at The Washington Post. Topping the list are: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, and interest on national debt. We, as a nation, can’t have a legitimate deficit-reduction conversation without talking about those items. Talk of congressional wage freezes makes me quite ill-humored.