How to Fix the US Budget

A friend of mine has recently challenged me to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem.  So in that vein I offer an idea for fixing the government’s budget woes.

It’s very simple, we, the people, get to decide where our tax dollars are spent.

We’ll take say 50 cents of each dollar and apply it to the jobs that the government is supposed to do.  Things like courts, emergency response, police/fire, foreign affairs, and about half of the military budget for general operations, CDC, and a fixed stipend for the major departments (energy, agriculture, HHS, etc) for their normal duties and operations.

The rest of the money is to be distributed as the tax payer sees fit.  If the tax payer thinks we need a new aircraft carrier, then the navy get another 30 cents on the dollar of his taxes.  Then, he thinks that education is important so another nickel goes to education.  He can divide the rest among whatever areas he likes: foreign aid, science research, border security, immigration, soup kitchens, whatever he designates.

The various departments get their funds and that’s what they get.  If the military needs more money, then it either needs to cut something or run more efficiently. 

The government departments cannot advertise or otherwise use any money to support their programs.  That can only be done by individuals.

Corporations and other legal entities that pay taxes can do the same thing, except it will be a decision of the board as to the allocation of taxes. 

What’s very interesting and useful about this proposal is that it does the opposite of what the government seems to want (which is rarely a bad thing).  Instead of the rich and companies getting massive tax breaks and subsidies, the middle class that pays the most taxes will have the most control.

Congress and the executive can make new programs and departments, but if they aren’t funded, then they just won’t exist.  This is what happens today.  Often a program or department will just not be on the budget and without money, it will quietly disappear never to be heard from again.  It would be the taxpayers making these decisions instead of the politicians.

I’ve discussed this idea briefly with others and a common complaint is “You can’t run a government that way.”  Really?  Has anyone ever tried?

I wonder what percentage of congress and executive time is spent on budget.  The majority of that time goes away and let’s them get on to more important things.

I bet one thing would happen.  If nothing else, I bet the wealthy would start picking up their fair share of the tab.

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