Would you support a 'choose where your taxes go' option?

Discussion in 'Budget & Taxes' started by modernpaladin, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member

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    I've often thought folks would be a lot more agreeable to government and taxes and such if they had a greater say in what they were funding. An example, suppose your tax form included the following checkboxes:

    Administrative Operations
    Welfare
    Affirmative Action Promotion
    Infrastructure
    Domestic Military Support
    Foreign Military Support
    Domestic Intelligence Services
    Foreign Intelligence Services
    Federal Law Enforcement
    Election Campaign Finance
    Any/All (with a small tax break)

    Obviously the list would be longer and likely worded differently. This is just an example to illustrate the point. I tried to come up with a list that I think most people will see something they would and wouldn't support if allowed to choose.

    On your tax form, you would tick the box for each sort of program you're willing to support with your taxes (with a slight tax break if you select 'Any/All' allowing the government to allocate your taxes however it sees fit). If you don't want to support drone strikes on civilians, you would not check the Foreign Military Support box, and your tax money would not be used for overseas military operations- including drone strikes. If you felt it was wrong that a minority got hired over you, you could not check the Affirmative Action Promotion box, and your tax money would not be used to incentivize companies to hire in a more diverse manner. If you really hate people smoking marijuana, you could choose to have all of your money go to Federal Law Enforcement. And Etc.

    This would, of course, allow for the possibility for certain agencies or institutions of the government to be over or under funded (though I suspect there will be enough people choosing the 'tax break' option that it would never be by much) creating (perhaps only a little) incentive for those various agencies or institutions to conduct themselves in a manner more agreeable to The People.

    What do you think?
     
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  2. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member

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    Additionally, I think it may aleive a bit of the vitriol in partisan politics. People tend to feel railroaded into supporting things that they think are damaging the country. This would allow them to either disassociate themselves in a small way from that which they perceive to be wrong, or perhaps even convince them its not as big a deal as they thought if they can save some money by begrudgingly supporting it.
     
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  3. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    The idea sounds good on the surface but isn't practical.

    Are you going to allow people to pay whatever amount of tax they want to pay, and allow them to dictate where that tax is spent?
    How many "progressives" would opt out of paying any tax simply because they dont want to fund a conservative President?

    Or are you going to tell people they have to pay taxes just like they do now, they just get to decide where the money goes?
     
  4. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member

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    This proposal is not for altering the tax code (except for the minor break for choosing Any/All). Everyone still pays what they would normally and are subject to the same penalties if they don't.
     
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  5. pitbull

    pitbull Active Member

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    This would be indeed very nice from the view of tax payers. But the state budget would get completely out of touch.

    What if most people hardly want to spend money on public security? Policemen can't be paid anymore and gangsters feel like they were in paradise.
     
  6. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member

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    Those would still be covered locally, typically from property taxes. Federal LE might suffer shortages... but that would be encentive for them to operate in a more popular manner.

    Thats actually part of the point. If The People are so unhappy with a federal program, they can effectively boycott it and vote more realistically with their dollars.
     
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  7. pitbull

    pitbull Active Member

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    But that entirely depends on the idea that the majority always knows what's best for all.
    This is the main fallacy of any socialist thinking, old-school democracy, communism and so on.

    I myself believe that the majority is a dumb mass who needs someone telling them what's right or wrong. Not a dictator but a parliament or senate. Representative Democracy. Most western states already have it.
     
  8. Moonglow

    Moonglow Well-Known Member

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    It would be in the trashcan the moment it entered the legislative bodies offices..
     
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  9. jay runner

    jay runner Well-Known Member

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    Kind of like big charities that let you check a box for where your money is going. It might happen once in a great while. Sometimes it even gets to people who need it.
     
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  10. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Sorry but there's no nicer way to put it; that's absolutely ridiculous!

    The idea of refusing your taxes to an entire sector of government because you disagree with a particular aspect of what (you believe!) they do is just silly in the first place. It would be an expensive mess to administrate and would have zero impact if it was done at a reasonable scale as budgets would just be shifted around on paper. How could you even know your taxes were being spent on something specifically?. If it was done in a way that actually did have impact, it could be disastrous; for example if the minimum running costs of the prison system was 10 million a year but only enough people ticked that box to cover 8 million, what should they do - sack of people and dangerously under-staff the prisons, let some prisoners go, just stop feeding them?

    There are already routes for voters to express their opinions on government policy and practice and while those systems often don't work as well as they should (though often because voters don't use them properly if at all) but this is no kind of rational answer to that at all.
     
  11. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member

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    That's actually called authoritarianism, or sometimes nanny state- when folks are not allowed to choose to fail.

    If a democracy does not have the power to destroy itself, its not a democracy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
  12. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member

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    Opinions are like a$$holes. Its money that talks.

    I think we need more representation than just our literal voice.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
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  13. Moonglow

    Moonglow Well-Known Member

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    But you can be assured some stripper will end up with it..
     
  14. Battle3

    Battle3 Well-Known Member

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    OK. Then here is an example. If Hilary was elected, I would allocate all my tax payments to go to grants to a university to support research into black holes. Not one penny goes to regulatory agencies (EPA, HHS, IRS, Dept of Education, etc) or to fund Congress, or to law enforcement, or the military.

    If just 5% of taxpayers followed my lead, the govt would collapse.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
  15. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Sure, but the money that is the average citizens tax in't enough to raise a whisper.

    We do have. We elect representatives to office for a start, the people who's job it is to make these decisions in a way that can actually work in the real world plus there can be referendums about specific issues and policies.

    Anyway, even if we did need something additional, you can't get past the fact that your idea simply couldn't be implemented and wouldn't work even if it somehow was.
     
  16. Eretria

    Eretria Active Member

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    This is a great debate question. Thanks for posting.

    Like others have mentioned, it doesn't seem feasible to allow taxes/government programs to be self directed. I would love it if we could though. It would permit citizens the power to decide domestic and international policy.
     
  17. Ndividual

    Ndividual Well-Known Member

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    I would prefer repealing the 16th and 17th amendments.
     
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  18. pitbull

    pitbull Active Member

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    Do you like Adolph Hitler and his Nazi Gangsters? These people started out in a democracy that had the possibility to destroy itself. And they used it to eliminate itself, in order to bring up their reign of terror over Germany and Europe.

    Anyone who says that a real democracy must be able to abolish itself is indeed an enemy of democracy.
    Just face it, Bro. You hate democracy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  19. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member

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    Folks looking to debate don't start thusly. Calm down and try again.


    What or who would you have sitting in power over us to prevent us from destroying our democracy if we were determined to do so?

    Either The People are the ultimate voice, and can voice their own destruction, or they're not, and its not a democracy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  20. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

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    No, that's basically just mob rule.
     

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