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Write-In Charitable Spending

Write-in non-essential government spending
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A write-in sheet that accompanies your yearly tax form determines all non-essential government spending. The sheet has a list of funds for which you write in your donation amount. Examples of entries would include things like cancer research, AIDS research, AIDS prevention, foreign aid to Central America, national monument restoration, teen abstinence, arts endowment, drug rehab, etc. You tack on your donation with your tax bill after you tally things up.


Busybody politicians can feel like they’ve helped something philanthropic without acting in an immoral and sinful way by using government force to fund non-governmental function.

Distribution of funds more accurately reflects the will of the givers rather than the will of the powerful few, and reduces the possibility of conflicts of interest and abuse of power for kickbacks.

The price of essential government functions becomes clearer.

Time isn’t wasted with politicians arguing over which pet projects get funded and there’d be fewer special interest groups circling around politicians.

mayan, May 01 2003


       1) Define "non-essential."   

       2) This is simply the idea of direct democracy as opposed to representitive democracy. There is an appeal to that, but it's got it's downside as well (tyranny of the majority and all that).
snarfyguy, May 01 2003

       Baked on some US state tax forms. This years Georgia tax form had lines for the "Georgia Wildlife Conservation Fund", "Georgia Children and Elderly Fund" and the "Georgia Cancer Research Fund" (lines 27, 28 and 29, Georgia form 500).   

       I am not a lawyer, but at a national level I think this proposal is forbidden by Article I, Section 7 of the US Constitution which specifies that all means of "raising Revenue" must originate in the House of Representatives.
krelnik, May 01 2003

       I think you'll end up with fuzzy gray areas that would need to be addressed. I don't think much of what governments do is purely philanthropic. Let's take the highway system as an example. Is this charity for those who would like to get to work, or a required governmental service? If the latter, then what about public schools? Surely this is charity - private ones work just fine. Then you have to extend it to libraries, the forest service, etc.
Worldgineer, May 01 2003

       Ditto, krelnik. 2002 tax year: 11 choices on CA State form 540, lines 51-61.
thumbwax, May 01 2003

       To answer objections: Gov't should entrust to every non-governmental entity the functions it is capable of performing. Essential gov't functions are the rest.   

       This is not direct democracy since the will of the majority is not imposed on the public, but rather you only impose your will on yourself. It's no different than leaving charitable decisions up to the individual.   

       I'm glad to hear that this is baked in some areas. I realize socialism has crept in slowly in many places, and I can live with peeling it back in like manner.
mayan, May 02 2003

       And exactly what functions are non-gov entities not capable of performing? Answer: nothing. What functions are non-gov entities not capable of performing well? Answer: anything that doesn't directly benefit them. I think the real question is whether you want a government at all.
Worldgineer, May 02 2003

       I baked this one in my own mind years ago, but for supposedly essential government services as well. I conceived of a pie chart where you can direct your tax dollars to different areas like Education 20%, Environment 20%, Health & Welfare 20%, Defense 0% (make those assholes sell huli-huli chicken to raise money for their stupid weapons). etc. THis would be more democratic than voting. Esp. since WWII, the president and congress has almost no control over the pentagonal satanic temple.
mystic2311, Dec 08 2003


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