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Tax System that allows people to choose how their money would be spent.

My idea is to set aside a SMALL percentage of taxes which the taxpayer got to choose how to spend it. Options would include a listing of various social programs, new technologies, public education, healthcare, public works like roads, defense or even programs registered by ordinary citizens. The taxpayer could also have the option to let the government handle the money like before.
The advantages might include:
1. an increased accountability of these programs since the taxpayer might do a considerable amount of research into the efficiency and total effectiveness of the program.
2. a democratic way to fund programs that people want
3. a way to introduce new programs and ideas
4. a way to increase taxes without upsetting people
5. a percentage of the budget would be accountable by the public.

My vision would be to have a website where taxpayers would browse through a variety of programs, read up on the information, and decide how to allocate their money. They also would have the ability to create their own program and try to attract supporters.

Obviously I don't know if this plan would be viable (and please correct me if i'm wrong). Thanks for considering.

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  • Oct 11 2011: I love the idea, but to some degree it already exists.

    Federal income tax was created in 1913, but a common argument against it was that a person's money was already going to social and public services such as education, hospitals, religious institutions, and arts and culture. People argued that with income tax, they no longer could afford to support these institutions and lost the ability to chose where their money went, instead placing the decision in the hands of government.

    The not-for-profit sector was created out of this, enabling taxpayers to redirect their income towards qualifying institutions, and to not have to pay income tax on these "donations" which might be better looked at as "direct support." By funding these establishments, each of us in fact does choose where our tax dollars goes, reducing our tax liability and directly infusing support based on our interests and values.

    Perhaps what is needed is a reconsideration of our perception "charity," and a shifting of this idea towards that of our "responsibility" to directly support the organizations we value.
    • Oct 11 2011: Thanks for responding. This is a very good point that I didn't think to intimately about.

      In the not-for-profit sector there is an increased sense of awareness, transparency and accountability that the government programs do not share. I was trying to fuse the not-for-profit sector with various government programs in an attempt to bring some of the positive effects into the government programs.

      The way government programs receive much of their budget is by appeasing to a smaller government base. I was hoping that this idea might bring some transparency since the people might be better motivated to contribute to programs that are more transparent.

      Also, I believe that the statistical information provided by these taxes might shed some light upon what the people truly want and could further be used to formulate the distribution of the real budget.

      I suppose the last advantage might be the globalization of the not-for-profit sector in one convenient place. These organizations would be able to have consistent revenue, and new ideas would have a place to gain recognition without expensive advertisement.

      I acknowledge that this might be a rather optimistic view, and encourage further criticism or support.

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