If you could decide how to spend tax dollars, how would you do it?

HillsboroMom

Active member
If you could ear-mark your tax dollars -- we're talking US federal here, how would you do it?

Indicate your preferences for the following categories, as percentages, to total 100%.

(So if you think a program should be cut completely, it would get 0%)

Defense and veterans' services
Education, research, science, space, technology
Federal law enforcement, criminal justice
Foreign affairs (international development, humanitarian assistance)
Healthcare assistance (not including social security and Medicare)
Income security, community and regional development
Natural resources, agriculture, and energy
Transportation

After some discussion, I'll reveal the actual numbers.

Would you support a measure that would allow taxpayers some say in how the government spends our money? Like, being able to earmark a % of their taxes?

What about state income and/or sales taxes?

What about property taxes?

Do you think such a measure would encourage more people to pay? Would it increase an interest in the democratic process?
 

Yakuda

Well-known member
If you could ear-mark your tax dollars -- we're talking US federal here, how would you do it?

Indicate your preferences for the following categories, as percentages, to total 100%.

(So if you think a program should be cut completely, it would get 0%)

Defense and veterans' services
Education, research, science, space, technology
Federal law enforcement, criminal justice
Foreign affairs (international development, humanitarian assistance)
Healthcare assistance (not including social security and Medicare)
Income security, community and regional development
Natural resources, agriculture, and energy
Transportation

After some discussion, I'll reveal the actual numbers.

Would you support a measure that would allow taxpayers some say in how the government spends our money? Like, being able to earmark a % of their taxes?

What about state income and/or sales taxes?

What about property taxes?

Do you think such a measure would encourage more people to pay? Would it increase an interest in the democratic process?
I would do look at the constitution and see what the founders said the federal govt should take care of. The test would be left to the states. The federal govt gas no constitutional authority to be involved in education, transportation and energy just to make a few.
 

vibise

Well-known member
For convenience, I am numbering your categories:

1- Defense and veterans' services
2- Education, research, science, space, technology
3- Federal law enforcement, criminal justice
4- Foreign affairs (international development, humanitarian assistance)
5- Healthcare assistance (not including social security and Medicare)
6- Income security, community and regional development
7 -Natural resources, agriculture, and energy
8- Transportation

1 - 20 - we spend way too much right now
2 - 15
3 - 10
4 - 5
5 - 20 - Funds to be used for a universal healthcare system
6 - 5 - Income security should come from increased wages from rich companies, local development thru local taxes
7 - 25 - To address climate change, the biggest challenge we face
8 - 5

Note that the usual estimates of defense spending rely largely on the DOD budget, but there are lots of weapons programs in the Energy Dept, and a bucket of $$ for Homeland Security.
 

cjab

Well-known member
1- Defense and veterans' services
2- Education, research, science, space, technology
3- Federal law enforcement, criminal justice
4- Foreign affairs (international development, humanitarian assistance)
5- Healthcare assistance (not including social security and Medicare)
6- Income security, community and regional development
7 -Natural resources, agriculture, and energy
8- Transportation

1 - 15
2 - 10
3 - 13
4 - 2
5 - 25
6 - 5
7 - 15
8 - 15

Would you support a measure that would allow taxpayers some say in how the government spends our money? Like, being able to earmark a % of their taxes?
Unworkable.
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
5 - Defense and veterans' services
25 - Education, research, science, space, technology
5 - Federal law enforcement, criminal justice
5 - Foreign affairs (international development, humanitarian assistance)
10 - Healthcare assistance (not including social security and Medicare)
15 - Income security, community and regional development
25 - Natural resources, agriculture, and energy
10 - Transportation

Would you support a measure that would allow taxpayers some say in how the government spends our money? Like, being able to earmark a % of their taxes?
Only in a very limited way, although this IS an interesting idea. Rather than giving them a percentage of their taxes to spend, I'd give them a list of fiscal priorities, and let them choose the top three (in order), allowing them to specify which priorities they'd choose in how some of their taxes are spent.

What about state income and/or sales taxes?

What about property taxes?

Do you think such a measure would encourage more people to pay? Would it increase an interest in the democratic process?
I'm pretty cynical; I doubt it would change anything. However, it might have some long-term positive effect.
 

Bob Carabbio

Well-known member
If you could ear-mark your tax dollars -- we're talking US federal here, how would you do it?
Do you think such a measure would encourage more people to pay? Would it increase an interest in the democratic process?
I believe it was Heinrich Himmler who correctly stated: "The people DON'T WANT to be involved in their government. What they want is a strong leader who will make their lives better for them". The world will have one in the future.

Personally, If the U.S. Government (such as it is) doesn't mess with Medicare, and Social Security, I couldn't care less what other foolishness they engage in. I won't be here much longer anyway.
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
I guess I should vote, too

Defense and veterans' services - 5
Education, research, science, space, technology - 25
Federal law enforcement, criminal justice - 10
Foreign affairs -10
Healthcare assistance - 15
Income security, community and regional development - 15
Natural resources, agriculture, and energy - 15
Transportation - 5

And, so far, the weighting is as follows:

Defense and veterans' services: 11%
Education, research, science, space, technology: 18.5%
Federal law enforcement, criminal justice: 9.5%
Foreign affairs: 5.5%
Healthcare assistance: 17.25%
Income security, community and regional development: 10%
Natural resources, agriculture, and energy: 19.5%
Transportation: 8.75%

Anyone care to venture a guess as to what the actual numbers are?
 

Backup

Well-known member
I would do look at the constitution and see what the founders said the federal govt should take care of. The test would be left to the states. The federal govt gas no constitutional authority to be involved in education, transportation and energy just to make a few.
So you would want to make sure there is no prohibition on the importation of slaves?
 

JohnMar

New Member
Hah, this is a very interesting question. I would first of all introduce monthly payments of $ 1,000 to each citizen, scientists have already confirmed that this only encourages people to work more. This has already begun to be used in some states.
 

shnarkle

Well-known member
If you could ear-mark your tax dollars -- we're talking US federal here, how would you do it?
I already have ear marked my federal tax dollars by opting out of the system altogether. They're ear marked for whatever I deem appropriate.
Indicate your preferences for the following categories, as percentages, to total 100%.

(So if you think a program should be cut completely, it would get 0%)

Defense and veterans' services
Education, research, science, space, technology
Federal law enforcement, criminal justice
Foreign affairs (international development, humanitarian assistance)
Healthcare assistance (not including social security and Medicare)
Income security, community and regional development
Natural resources, agriculture, and energy
Transportation
Total: 0%
Would you support a measure that would allow taxpayers some say in how the government spends our money? Like, being able to earmark a % of their taxes?
This is like asking if people would like a say in how thieves spend their money.
What about state income and/or sales taxes?
There is no state income tax where I live, and I rarely pay sales tax anymore.
What about property taxes?
I haven't paid any property taxes in over ten years.
Do you think such a measure would encourage more people to pay?
No. There was a study done 30 or 40 years ago that showed the highest returns were gained at 17% with no loop holes. When the tax rate gets to 70% the people revolt. We're just about there now.
Would it increase an interest in the democratic process?
Nope. The Democratic process is all but over. We live in a technocracy now, and they make all the decisions.
 

JohnMar

New Member
Hah, this is a very interesting question. I would first of all introduce monthly payments of $ 1,000 to each citizen, scientists have already confirmed that this only encourages people to work more. This has already begun to be used in some states.
I would first of all introduce monthly payments of $ 1,000 to each citizen, scientists have already confirmed that this only encourages people to work more. This has already begun to be used in some states. It seems to me that it is worth cutting the financing of various parades and other events that carry a function that does not bring profit to society. And of course, I would start repairing roads, doing landscaping in all cities. I also think it is necessary to increase the taxation of society. I recently counted my W2 form on edit link violation and it seems to me that they do not remove as much taxes from us as they should. Look at the European countries. They take much more taxes there, but at the same time people live better in these countries.
 
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HillsboroMom

Active member
I would first of all introduce monthly payments of $ 1,000 to each citizen, scientists have already confirmed that this only encourages people to work more. This has already begun to be used in some states. It seems to me that it is worth cutting the financing of various parades and other events that carry a function that does not bring profit to society. And of course, I would start repairing roads, doing landscaping in all cities. I also think it is necessary to increase the taxation of society. I recently counted my W2 form on edit link violation and it seems to me that they do not remove as much taxes from us as they should. Look at the European countries. They take much more taxes there, but at the same time people live better in these countries.
You do realize that this makes you border-line socialist?

As Seinfeld would say, "Not that there's anything wrong with that," but I just want to check and see if you recognize where you stand.

FYI, different states have different levels of taxation.

On the FEDERAL side, there are basically only a few taxes: There's the FICA (Social security and Medicare), which is a flat 15.3% on all employee wages. Employers pay 1/2 of this and employees pay the other 1/2. So, even if you only made $100 in a year, you paid $6.20 in social security and $1.45 in Medicare, because it came right out of your paycheck. However, this tax is REgressive. Once you hit a certain income, you don't pay any more -- for 2020 it was around $137k. Which isn't really that much, considering the average income for 2020 was around $87k.

Then there's individual income tax, which has a fairly high standard deduction -- around $12k per adult -- and then is progressive between 10%-36.

The corporate tax rate is a flat 21%, but that is deceptive. A corporation's taxable income is much lower than their gross income. They get to subtract a lot more than individuals do. Individuals may itemize, but there are a lot of things they can't subtract, that a corporation can. Large corporations often maneuver things so that their net income is $0.00, so they end up paying $0 in tax. So whether the corporate tax rate is 21% or 75% is meaningless. As long as corporations can cook their books, large corporations are going to continue to get out of it, and small corporations are going to continue to pay. So raising the corporate tax isn't going to help.

Most of the federal government's income is going to come from individuals.

Most states have individual income taxes, corporate excise taxes, sales taxes, and other types of taxes and fees. Some cities, counties, and other municipalities have additional taxes (the most common being property tax, which is usually a county tax). A handful of states don't have any individual income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. A handful of states don't have sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. You'll notice Alaska has neither sales nor income tax. Yes, that's right. They actually pay residents to live there. Crazy, huh? In general, many states with sales tax will not tax "necessity items" such as groceries and sometimes clothing. But some states tax everything. So depending on where you live, you may end up paying a lot -- Louisianna's state tax is 5%, and the average local sales tax adds another 5% on top of that -- or nothing at all -- Alaska, as I said -- over federal.

But like you said, I don't think anyone anywhere in the US pays as much tax as the middle-class in Europe, but we all pay WAY more than the Europeans do for what they get with their taxes.
 

Mike McK

Well-known member
Education, research, science, space, technology
Foreign affairs (international development, humanitarian assistance)
Healthcare assistance (not including social security and Medicare)
Income security, community and regional development
Natural resources, agriculture, and energy
Transportation
None of those things are found in the Constitution. Not being a Democrat, I actually care what the Constitution says. The federal governent does not have the authority to meddle in those areas.
Would you support a measure that would allow taxpayers some say in how the government spends our money? Like, being able to earmark a % of their taxes?
We have one now and they you don't follow it.
What about state income and/or sales taxes?
That's up to the states. We have a federal system of government, which means states have more leeway to make such ridiculous laws that the federal government does not have, and cannot impose upon states.
What about property taxes?
Completely Unamerican. Our republic was founded on the idea of ownership of private property, not the idea of paying for the privilege of owning private property.

Our Founders would be getting their muskets ready if they knew governments were charging people for the privilege of owning private property.
 

Michael R2

Active member
HillsboroMom said:
What about property taxes?

Completely Unamerican. Our republic was founded on the idea of ownership of private property, not the idea of paying for the privilege of owning private property.

Our Founders would be getting their muskets ready if they knew governments were charging people for the privilege of owning private property.
Actually, property taxes existed in the colonial period, during the war and continued unabated through the beginnings of the United States.

Here's a short history.

 

Mike McK

Well-known member
Actually, property taxes existed in the colonial period, during the war and continued unabated through the beginnings of the United States.
According to the article, only four out of fifteen states levied taxes on property. That doesn't sound very "unabated" to me.
 
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