Thursday, July 05, 2007

Having a Say in How Taxes are Spent by Louis Evan Palmer

There are any number of ways to make our society more democratic - lowering the voting age is one, decentralizing and broadening the ownership and control of mass media is another. But one which would dwarf them in immediate full-spectrum impact is to give the taxpayer, the actual money-out-of-the-wallet taxpayer, a choice in how tax dollars are spent.

The government would still get to designate the tax-spend categories. It could recommend certain percentages. But, what a breath of fresh air if it has to be all laid out in clear terms - what is to be spent and why. Taxpayers would then be able to allocate their tax dollars according to what they want to have done and are willing to pay for.

There would obviously be a default selection which would correspond to the government's recommendation. There would also be a break-out of the main spend categories and sub-categories and individuals could allocate their tax dollars as they see fit and their conscience dictates. No more subversion and corruption or dithering by elected officials (where we can trust the elections and their results).

The government would be compelled to break-out certain big ticket items like defense. There would be line items for whatever war is ongoing. In Canada, there would be a line item for the war in Afghanistan and a suggested percentage. My guess is that the war would be quickly unfunded. If the US had line items for Afghanistan and Iraq, a similar unfunding would be likely.

The collection of taxes is done under threat of force because that's what states do and because we supposedly have a say through our elected representatives. Two things have made that inadequate: (1) our electoral system, associated mass media and elected representatives have become unresponsive (and unethical and hard-of-hearing, etc. etc.); (2) modern techniques and mature democracies are ready for the next step in free societies. That next step is choice in how tax money is spent.

If tax payers had a direct say, would we see enormous subsidies for agricorps and big business? Would we see alternate energy and environmental protection neglected? Would we see huge debts piled up to pay for wars of aggression? It's very doubtful.

There is no worry that the government would have the necessary funds to operate and to defend the country but it wouldn't be in the areas it has them now because where it's has them now is not where the populace wants it.

Having a Say in How Taxes are Spent, The Way It Can Be, Louis Evan Palmer,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


No comments: