One idea recent floated in a discussion I was having was let the taxpayers put their money where their mouth is. Instead of the government deciding how money is spent, the taxpayers determine how much of their taxes are given to various departments.
There was quite a lot of discussion about this and the final result was that 10% of every federal tax will go to a ‘general fund’, which will cover things like president, legislator and federal judge salary. Staffs have to come out of that fund as well. Each department will have a check box. So, if you want to give 50% to the Department of Defense, and 40% to the Department of Transportation, that’s fine. Or, if you like, you can line item to a specific agency or federal group (The Air Force (or even the 501st Bomb Group), Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or whatever).
So the question would become, will the US Citizens be willing to fund things like the Food and Drug Administration or the National Security Agency?
I know that this isn’t a realistic scenario… I also know that the readers of this blog are not a random sample of US citizens. But I am curious.
I’d appreciate it, if you would leave a comment with how you would distribute your taxes (including the mandatory 10% to the general fund). Also, feel free to share this, if I get a large enough sample of comments, then I’ll post the results and compare to how the US budget actually appears.
Here’s a list of federal agencies.
Here’s a list of the executive departments with links to learn more about what they do.