What would happen if Americans had a say in how their tax money is spent?
Here's the concept:
Hey, there's a lot to be said for this.
What if U.S. taxpayers were allowed, for some small portion of their taxes -- say, 10 percent -- to specify on their tax returns where they'd like to direct the money? [Cait] Lamberton ran some experiments to find out.
One result is that those allowed to specify some tax expenditures felt much less irritation and angst, and much more of a sense of satisfaction and benefit, toward paying taxes. That in itself would be a sea change in U.S. consciousness.
Respondents across the board shifted spending toward education, training, and social services -- all areas that are major job-creation engines and paths to sustainable improvements in standards of living.
For one thing, if taxpayers were allowed to do this, they would demonstrate -- with their own money, which carries more weight than any poll -- what they value. I'm not naive enough to think that would transform the priorities of policymakers, but over time, the disjoint between what Americans want to spend money on and what
politicians are spending on would grow difficult to ignore. Priorities would get dragged in the right direction.
Whether it's feasible or not, it's a very interesting idea to play with.