Personal Tax Earmarking
The article she sent me discusses the idea of personal tax earmarking - basically, having control over where your taxes go. Initially, this sounded like a great idea. I get to choose where the government spends my money? Heck yea! I could earmark my taxes for the maintenance of the trails in national parks instead of the social security which I will never benefit from! I could provide even more money for the Big Dig...... or not. Plus, I believe in the benefits that the article touts - more people would pay taxes because they get to direct where their money goes. I think many people, especially the rich, are averse to paying taxes not necessarily out of greed, but because they think they know a better way to use it. Given the long list of pork barrel spending on each budget, I can't disagree.
My worries, however, are this. What system is going to be able to handle such a complex distribution of money? Each person can earmark their taxes for one of thousands of causes, or they can divide their taxes up however many ways between thousands of causes. Multiply that by the millions of taxpayers in this country? The government is already getting flak for the numerical nightmare known as Medicare Part D - the prescription drug benefit - and that's only 400 or so choices. Imagine thousands of choices and permutations. I have little faith that the government would be able to handle something of such complexity given its track record. And given the government's recent push to simplify taxes, I think idea would be heading in the opposite direction.
Nice idea, but probably not feasible. Is it just me or am I becoming a cynic?
Article: What is Personal Tax Earmarking?