Imagine every year logging onto your IRS account and selecting which non-essential government services you want your tax money spent on. If you supported a program, you could select it. If you deselected it, you could block any of your money supporting it.
There are a great many government programs which are completely non-essential. While a great many citizens might support any number of non-essential programs (such as NPR, the Smithsonian, national parks, etc.), there are many programs no one likely wants any of their money going to, such as this rather comical list of government ventures released by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
Among the stranger things in the report?
“Highlights include: providing over $76 million in stipends to soldiers in the Somali National Army, devoting over $650,000 to develop a drama series to air in Afghanistan, spending up to $1 million on helping support and develop the legislative process in Libya, and setting aside $18 million to support tourism in Egypt.”https://www.paul.senate.gov/news/dr-rand-paul-releases-2018-%E2%80%98festivus%E2%80%99-edition-%E2%80%98-waste-report%E2%80%99
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any of my tax money supporting Egyptian tourism. And that doesn’t include this real winner:
Studied daydreaming (NIH) ………………………………………….. $2,488,153
I believe strongly in taking care of people, but I don’t believe the government does that job very well. Economics and author Thomas Sowell explained clearly how programs to end poverty, in fact, perpetuate it.
“Ironically, dependency on government to raise people above the poverty line had been going down for years before the war on poverty began. The hard facts showed that the number of people who lived below the official poverty line had been declining since 1960, and was only half of what it had been in 1950.
“On the more fundamental question of dependency, the facts were even clearer. The proportion of people whose earnings put them below the poverty level — without counting government benefits — declined by about one-third from 1950 to 1965.
“All this was happening before the war on poverty went into effect — and all these trends reversed after it went into effect.”Thomas Sowell – https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/the-war-on-poverty-made-the-problem-worse
Often those who argue against a government program are accused of being uncaring, selfish people, but the crux is more about method than desire. I’ve never met a single American who wants poor people to stay poor, but people often have a variety of opinions as to the best method. Given government’s inherent waste and previous evidence to show poverty declines without government’s involvement, it’s fair to argue that we don’t need the government programs we have — at least, possibly not in the way we have them.
Not only would you be able to elect/unelect non-essential government programs, what better place could you survey the American public on the direction or use of more essential government programming? Perhaps you’d vote to reduce the size of the military or Federal subsidy of big corporations? While I can’t unelect for my taxes to pay this or that particular elected or appointed official, I might be able to voice my opinion on whether we should have a Department of Labor or a Department of Education, or even perhaps if I believed it should be bigger than it already is!
Framed neutrally, the tax election surveys and questions would inject a great deal of accurate opinion by citizens into the government decision-making process. There would be less argument about non-taxpayers or non-citizens biasing the data. The election would also allow citizens to expand existing services and ventures to see exactly what our government departments are spending their time on. While every program might not be listed, ongoing programs with detailed reports would go a long way to informing citizens about government operations. It might win some citizens into greater support, or it might show how insane some of our programs are, such as studying Male prostitution in Vietnam or the genital washing happens of men in South Africa. (SOURCE)
Information is king, nowadays, and empowering American citizens should be a key priority for our government. I’m not so sure it is. But tax election would go a very long way to keeping our elected officials in line, opening paths of understanding of its inner workings and better educating all citizens on why and how our tax money is spent.