Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Federal Receipt: a Modest Proposal

The Federal Receipt: a Modest Proposal

I propose that there be a Federal Receipt. This Receipt is to be mailed to each taxpayer soon after April 15; detailing, for each taxpayer, both taxes received, and how much of those funds went to which federal program. It would go something like this:


Dear Joe Blow:

We got from you:

Income tax:            $ X
Social Secuity:       $ X
other taxes:            $ X
total:                      $ X

We will spend that on:

Interest payments:   $ X
Social Security:        $ X
Medicare:                $ X
Medicaid:                $ X
DOD:                       $ X
Veterans benefits:    $ X

... (many more) ...
total:                        $ X

The difference is your share of the deficit:
                                $ X


The spending receipt entries will equal total taxes taken, times
respective fractions of the federal budget. How far to break it down is I suppose a matter of policy. Let's say, just enough detail to cover one side of a page. No doubt the political parties will quarrel over details. The point is to clarify and demystify. Let the general public be more accurately aware of our nation's true budgetary priorities. Such a receipt will, for instance, dispel the popular illusion that NASA or foreign aid are major programs in federal terms.

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