Tax day always brings a bittersweet feeling, as we might feel the pinch in our wallet, and wish we could use that money for something else, yet we know that in order to build and maintain the infrastructure and services that support the overall functioning of our country, paying taxes is a necessary part of good citizenship.
However, all too often, we don’t know what those tax dollars are used for, but chances are, some of it is used to fund and underwrite programs that go against our personal convictions, such as war, fossil fuel subsidies, or bank and auto company bailouts. If we had the chance to choose where our tax contributions go, we might end up with a radically different national budget, one that might favor a whole new set of priorities. But nobody has really been asking the people what they think about their tax allocation, until now.
This tax day, you have a chance to express your national priorities by choosing where you would want your tax dollars spent, thanks to a virtual alternative “New IRS”. This new platform, which is the brainchild of Alex Ebert (front-man for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), offers the starting point for a possible solution to our “struggling democratic process”.
There is a solution. We should control the destiny of our tax money.
The New IRS provides that control for our federal income taxes. The idea is simple: Taxpayers choose, from reasonable and established categories, where our federal income tax money goes by choosing a percentage for each category. We call the new feature Personal Allocation.
Through your participation, we will be able to collect national data that will serve to illuminate any disparities between the will of the people and the national expenditures of our representative democracy.
Users can choose what percentage of their tax dollars they’d like to see allocated to any of the 14 categories of spending (defense, healthcare, agriculture, education, energy and environment, etc.), and to contribute their answers to the national survey. The results of that survey, which will compare the users’ choices vs their actual expenditures in an interactive format, could be used to advance the conversation on tax allocation in a representative democracy, and will be released shortly after tax day.
If you’d like to help inform this project about your personal priorities for where your tax dollars get spent, go to the New IRS and submit your choices.