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Taxes, death, and cake. A la carte!

Most people agree that paying taxes isn’t fun, but many believe them to be a necessary evil. One thing EVERYBODY seems to agree on is that our tax dollars aren’t spent how we’d like them to be spent.

I’d like to propose the following change: A La Carte Taxes. The idea is simple – let individuals (and other tax-paying entities) decide how their tax dollars are spent. Personally, I wouldn’t put 100% of my faith into the American public… I mean, we’ll drop hundreds of dollars on cable and satellite TV without thinking twice about it, but complain about the cost of school supplies and textbooks… but I digress.

Anyways, this change is dramatic, but implemented gradually, I think it’s absolutely feasible. For example, to start, we could reduce the budget of each funded category by something small, say 5% or 1% or whatever “gradual” means in this context. Let’s just say 5%. This guarantees that each budgeted item will receive AT LEAST 95% of what it was expecting.

When individuals and other tax-paying entities file their taxes, 95% of what they pay will go towards the guaranteed funding, but the remaining 5% can be appropriated however that individual sees fit. I, for example, would probably remove most if not all of my funding for the DoD, and distribute that between the Department of Education, the NSF, NASA, and Health & Human Services. I’d probably keep everything else in their regular proportions, although I would be SIGNIFICANTLY more inclined to research these items to see how the money is actually spent. I suspect others would too.

As time progresses, we can decrease the guaranteed amount (and increase the a la carte amount).

What do you think? Could this work? Would you prefer to have this level of control over you tax dollars?

PS – does this concept have a name? I’d love to read about it if anyone knows.