Here’s a thought, what if we could spend a set percentage of our tax dollars in ways we see fit?
Let’s say, hypothetically, the feds take $100 from a paycheck on week. What if 50% of that $100 was set up to be spent as the person who earned the money saw fit. I just now listened to a speech given by President Bush on American giving to the fight against AIDS. In this speech President Bush noted that the American people just completed a 5-year 15 Billion dollar giving plan successfully, and now he is proposing to congress that we as American’s double our giving for the next 5-years and give 30 Billion dollars. That is a lot of money, seriously. I am no expert on the fight against AIDS, I personally have little knowledge about AIDS in itself, but I do know that it is a serious epidemic, especially on third-world nations in Africa. The money goes to funding medicine/doctors/research and I am sure it is being put to good use.
But what if I want my tax dollars, the money I earn while sitting in my little cube, saving the grocery world… to go something different?
At first I was thinking why can’t we decide how all our taxes are spent? But then I realized the problem, people wouldn’t ever think about/want to set aside money for such things as street maintenance or paying city workers (Yes I’m aware federal taxes don’t go to city workers and I have no clue who funds street maintenance, but you catch my drift). So why don’t we figure out how much of each person’s taxes are going to outside funds, like fighting AIDS. Let’s just say for sake of argument 50%.
So your initial argument against my spending plan is probably going to be, well can’t we already do that? We donate money to charity and write it off our taxes. But the difference there is the government will still spend the same amount of money regardless of people writing charity donations off their taxes. Bush wants to fight AIDS with 30 Billion dollars. Let’s say over the next 5-years, all Americans write off 1-Billion dollars in taxes with donations to fight AIDS. Well that just increases the American giving to 31 Billion dollars, which means 1-Billion dollars in the red for our government. See the issue?
Another problem you might say is that lots of people will donate to a ‘stupid’ charity giving them an overwhelming income. Let’s just take for example The Cable Center Charity. All the folks of the cable industry will want to donate to something that is relative to their field, so they all donate to The Cable Center. This currently far in the red charity would have an overwhelming increase in finances taking away from what some people would consider more important, fighting AIDS. My response is, well we live in a democracy don’t we? The people’s choice? If we as American’s see fit to spend our tax dollars in funding The Cable Center, then shouldn’t we be allowed to?
Next issue everyone will have is the lazy folks who don’t want to spend the time to decide what charity is worth their money. What happens to their 50%? Simple, the government will use your $100 to give $200 to charity…. what they do already, no?
The final issue I’m going to post for now that you might have is, well aren’t there like millions of federally funded charities? (the real count I have no idea) Won’t some get left out? I propose that someone on capital hill create categories. Maybe you can’t donate directly to The Cable Center, but you can donate your share to Professional Advancements… or something of the sort. Or you could donate your money to Low-Income Scholarships…. or even, _Fighting Wars that aren’t going anywhere _(this would help the American folk’s feel like they have a choice with the War in Iraq)
My plan would make everyone much happier with a feeling that they are actually making a difference in the world, that they are deciding how their money is spent, that they are able to support something they have a passion for.
One last issue you’ll have (maybe the first one on your list) is that you think we’re already doing this by living in a democracy and electing officials to spend our money for us…. and my answer to you is… you’re right. What I’m proposing in its simplicity would be so full of loopholes that people could jump through. I’m just venting on my views that my tax dollars are not being spent in a way that I think best.
Come November of 2008, whether the man (or woman for that matter) in office is better or worse, it won’t matter, they will be different, and that is all the American People want right now.