I’ve been toying with a variety of ideas to get government spending far more transparent and accessible: knowing what any given program costs makes it far easier to evaluate whether its worth one’s tax dollars (and if someone can do it better), as oppose to these nebulous, fact-lite “the taxes are too darn high/I want schools and roads so taxes are fine” debates.
I’ve also been entertained by some of the “GoFundMe better serves people than the American Healthcare system” memes popping up.
Which got me thinking that its possible my “pick where your taxes go” solution I’ve been toying with forever might actually not sound completely ridiculous and absurd to everyone anymore.
Basic premise: you have X tax dollars. You get to assign them to whatever program or programs you want. Programs list money they need, and can have ‘stretch goals’ with specific projects or additional services they provide if met. Easy to have a default allocation for people who can’t be bothered.
Initially I was 100% confident “there’d have to be some portion that was mandatorily funded”. Probably still true, but maybe not: people *want* roads and schools and clean air, so once the money is *in*, I have some confidence the stuff that needed to get funded would get funded. (A priority system + all the people not allocating their tax dollars might solve it as well)
GoFundMe and Kickstarter have been amazing for small startups and projects, and it would give a lot more flexibility and visibility to the effectiveness of a variety of grant programs; easier to get money to brilliant new ideas quickly, easier to de-fund so much of the hot garbage out there.
There’s obviously a lot of logistical issues that’d have to be hashed out; mandatory amounts, how to get on the funding list, distribution, crony-ism, fraud, and so many more. But this isn’t anything different that problems in the current, or any other system, and we’re *really damn good* at hashing out logistics once the basic structure is set.
This isn’t me *pushing* this idea as brilliant or game changing, more just throwing it out there for everyone to tear apart, and see if there’s anything left in the end.
But I *am* confident a lot more transparency and a bit more control over government spending would be a HUGE benefit for the country, however we accomplish it.