What if the Government Had to Earn Your Money?

All of the inherent problems of taxation – the corruption, lack of accountability, waste, inefficiency of collection and spending, etc. – are rooted in the fundamental and simple fact that the government always receives however much it wants from us – regardless of whether it is spent honestly, wisely or effectively. The government – unlike individuals, companies and charities – has the unique ability to raise funds in a way that is completely unrelated to its performance.

What if that changed?

What if the government actually had to earn your money?

What if you could redirect your tax dollars whenever you saw them wasted by a government department; spent in support of a policy that does more harm than good; paid out to cronies for supporting a particular politician or campaign, or just deployed much less efficiently than by a local charity or non-profit that does a particular government job better than the government does it?

If you could redirect those tax dollars, the result would be revolutionary: there would finally be an incentive – indeed, a need – for politicians and public servants to clean house, to make sure that your tax dollars were doing justly and effectively what they were taken from you to do.

A Vote with Every Tax Dollar

In other words, you would have a vote not just once every few years at a ballot box, but every year with every tax dollar.

And that would be valuable not because it serves any ideological purpose, but because of the hugely positive effects it would have on the social and economic outcomes of government spending.

Many Americans have heard the expression, “voluntary tax system”. Our politicians, the IRS, and even our tax code itself, insist that we have one. Everyone else knows better.

But in that phrase, almost hiding in plain sight, is the one means of stopping the harm done by our current method of funding government and its programs.

In a truly voluntary tax system, taxpayers would be able to direct their dollars to wherever they can do the most good.

That could mean choosing not to fund corrupt agencies; it could mean diverting money to charitable programs that outperform government programs; it could mean directing money from pet political projects to the fundamental needs of your community.

Putting choice into our system is the only way to ensure better services, delivered more efficiently and more accountably, to the people whose wellbeing is the only reason for taking their tax dollars in the first place.

This is emphatically not a political project. It is a human one, and it is a humane one.