Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tax time = Election time

Greater control over your hard earned tax dollars
 
(+3, -3)
  [vote for,
against]

It's simple....
- Political parties propose spending projects. ex: new railway link, upgraded weapons for prison guards, new teachers, upgraded hospitals, buyout of habitat for conservation, new aircraft carrier, subsidized housing for the homeless
- All taxpayers pay the same amount of tax that they always have. Except that this time tax time is also election time. Although you don't get to choose how much taxes you pay, you do get to choose how to spend your taxes by selecting which project will get your money.
- If a political party spends your hard earned money on booze and prostitutes (and that wasn't implied in the project description... ;-) .. ), then you and the rest of the taxpayers who trusted them will not trust them next time and choose another project/party next time

Most of today's democratic governments are still based on the premise that the masses are too stupid to know what they should spend their money on. In one sense that is a valid argument: If everyone could choose how much tax they wanted to pay they would choose the amount of $0 because no one would want to be the only loser in the country who pays the tax while no one else does. In another way this is completely wrong. The common person of the street can make informed decisions what to do with their money (better with more practice - I'll get to this later). Let me give you an example, the politicians might scream: ... “but what if people don't give any money to the military and we get invaded?” In that case the politician's job will be to educate and show the population that they are grossly underspending on military and that there is a high risk of invasion by a hostile power. If they make the case well the population will follow, if not then either they were wrong about the threat or the country gets invaded and the only people to blame will be the people themselves... no more "stupid president... only if he spent more on military" .. it will be more like, I should have given 30% to the project for the new aircraft carrier and convince my friends and neighbors to do the same.
Now to the practice, part. We don't want to be handing over the country to the masses and saying: "I know you have no experience in running your own country but just go ahead and decide what you want" ... not that people are stupid, but the reality is that people will be completely overwhelmed by the choices (I know I would). A better approach is to start with baby steps. Take 1% of tax revenue and make it available for this new taxation / spending system. Increase the % that will be decided by the people as the population gets the hang of running their own country. This will also help the politicians not freak out and think that they will become useless. They will come to realize that by having good ideas and by implementing projects well they can become very popular (and powerful).
If it seems to you like a waste of energy because this is what most countries are doing already (in a more indirect way) then you are absolutely right. This idea is not about any kind of revolution. It's about introducing an tiny incremental improvement in government accountability, corruption control and tax payer choice. The key word is tiny and incremental. I mentioned 1% of tax revenue, but there is no reason whatsoever why this concept could not start very humbly either in municipal government scale with budgets of mere $10K's instead of billions – if it works then fine. If not nothing was lost ... only tax payer education and empowerement gained.

Annotation: Only individuals should be allowed to participate (not corporations) because of excellent point raised by antegrity

Annotation: Individuals should not be able to vote more because they pay more taxes. 1 person 1 vote. The voting will be based in terms of percentages not in absolutes. This way a poor minority will not be disadvantaged by rich majority (note that this is how the current democratic system deals with this issue - 1 person 1 vote)
ixnaum, Oct 22 2005

Taxpayer Controlled Budget Taxpayer-Controlled_20Budget
Very similar to this idea. The difference is that this idea deals with specific projects and focuses on delivery rather than agencies. Instead of giving 1% to NASA, give 1% to Space Elevator Construction ... (but basically almost identical) [ixnaum, Oct 22 2005]

[link]






       How would this be better than the system we have now? What we need is a way to vote and set a national/local agenda.   

       Large corporations would use their tax money to subsidize their buisness.
Antegrity, Oct 22 2005
  

       It's not radically different Antegrity. But notice that this removes one layer from the system. There would still be corruption. But my argument is that there would be slightly less (definitely not more). The agenda would still be set by politicians. For example, if people decide only about 1% of the budget the politicians are 99% as important as always. Remember ... no revolution here - only a tiny incremental tweak (by taking out one layer from the system)
ixnaum, Oct 22 2005
  

       //Large corporations would use their tax money to subsidize their buisness.//   

       Yes this is important. Corporation should not vote. Corporations should be in the old system. Only individuals should be allowed to participate (vote) in the new system.
ixnaum, Oct 22 2005
  

       Umm, California already has a partially baked version of this. Every time some voter proposition comes up in California that is *paid for* by bond issues, the sheeple vote for it. It's the credit card mentality. It's been going on for years and doesn't seem to be getting better. (note: I give "sheeple" credit to baker James Newton).
siwel, Oct 22 2005
  

       Ya that sounds somewhat similar. But also sounds like the sheeple you are describing are bored and apathetic within the process. This idea addresses that problem by making them do the numbers as part of their taxes. Not ... you owe $5,451 this year so pay up.. but you owe $45 for railway project, $664 for homeless housing, and $4742 for submarine public transport .... people would be in the loop more (of course that part could not be done by their accountant, they would have to do that in person like voting)
ixnaum, Oct 22 2005
  

       I think we should be operating in a cantonal system anyway, so trying to improve our current federal system is a moot point to me.
Antegrity, Oct 22 2005
  
      
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