Allocation of Federal Income Tax Choice?

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    • #89422
      JohnnyMac
      Participant

        An idea that I’ve been kicking around for a while now is, what if instead of the federal government taxation and appropriation of personal income to social welfare programs, the citizens were given the liberty to allocate those taxes to either the current social welfare programs and/or 501c organizations, of the individual’s choosing?

        Currently, social security, medicare/Medicaid, CHIP, marketplace subsidies and other safety net programs make up 59% of the federal budget.

        It’s still not true liberty (IE it’s still more or less forced charity), but at least in my mind it’s an interesting step in the right direction.

        A likely consequence (for good or ill) is that money stays closer to the people who generated it. I have a feeling many people would allocate most or all of their taxes to their church. Do you expect that to be more for the good, or more for the ill?

        Let’s assume tax rates stay where they are. Where would you see your taxes going? (talking strictly social welfare/charity, let’s assume the other 40% still goes to the rest of the pie, which is mostly Defense)

      • #89423
        Anonymous
        Inactive

          I do think it would be useful to allow citizens to choose where even a portion of their taxes go, though it would be a nightmare for budgeting purposes.

          I think the biggest problem with the idea of “charity” to replace the welfare state is that it’s usually a one-off idea (e.g. “Let’s raise funds for victims of Hurricane Such-And-Such”) that it isn’t a long-term solution for replacing the welfare state.

          Part of the idea of mutual aid is people forming benefit societies, paying in, and getting health coverage, life insurance, etc. It’s not a widely-known fact now but most folks received benefits through these societies prior to the rise of the welfare state in the last century. Many working folks could get affordable health care coverage for the year for the cost of a single paycheck through their benefit society, many doctors could make a living working for a benefit society, but then they were regulated out of existence so the state didn’t have any competition in the sphere of welfare. Now nobody can even fathom what society would do for poor people without government welfare programs.

          It’s worth noting that while social democrats are the ones who advocate it strongest nowadays it was actually Imperial Germany that first pushed the welfare state through, it was seen as a means to reduce radical agitation against their authoritarian system of government. People with their needs met don’t generally want to overthrow the crown.

          Here in the US these groups were fraternal societies such as the Shriners or Freemasons, who still exist in a reduced context, probably the closest surviving analog in the US are groups like NA or AA with their own tightly-knit support networks.

        • #89424
          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
          Moderator

            I am currently involved with several 501c organizations and have experience with many others.

            The biggest problem with Government programs is waste, fraud, and significant overhead.

            As a example EBT SNAP, the last information I have shows that for every dollar the recipient/customer recieves the government spent three dollars to get it to them!

            75% overhead is insane, I typically will not donate to 501c with higher than 10% overhead.

            In fact if giving the SNAP money the various individuals receive within a particular county I could feed all citizens within that county extremely well. I am talking high end not a subsistence diet.

            Of course not all 501c organizations are created equal, when run by those with a calling for that area they tend to be great, when run as just a job they lose focus on mission and are worthless.

            I doubt we can get the money/power back from Government, but post event it maybe doable.

            Lastly my experience suggests when people are giving the choice to support or not; vice a flat rate, this results in an increase in resources.

            Not exactly a response to your theory, but some thoughts.

          • #89425
            wheelsee
            Participant

              But then who would fund the studies of gay seagulls (see here https://qz.com/1023638/the-gulls-are-alright-how-a-lesbian-seagull-discovery-shook-up-1970s-conservatives/ ), fund Planned Parenthood, etc??

              Prior to 1933, FDR’s New Deal, the churches were the central part of social programs, including running orphanages. Growing up, I remember my parents taking food to various neighbors, always on the down-low, never making a point, just supporting the neighbors who may be down (i.e. work strikes, bad weather, etc). I also remember my father taking my brothers and I to the various widows, replacing/repairing whatever needed (us being smaller, were always in the attics or under the house running wires, checking things out). Once the government got heavily involved in their social programs, the churches were forced out (saw it myself), making the government the sole provider.

              I’d prefer my taxes stay in my pockets……I’d rather have the old way of neighbors helping neighbors….but then that would mean getting back into tribe…. :good:

            • #89426
              JohnnyMac
              Participant

                waste

                Yeah, I think the proposed system provides some free market aspects that would be healthy. Should one of your charities be found to be squandering that money? Allocate it somewhere else. That could provide pretty big accountability. I would also think it might help with social dynamics, from the perspective of A-holes are less likely to be helped by those around them, where as today, personal factors are irrelevant.

                I’d rather have the old way of neighbors helping neighbors

                We still do this to some extent, but I think with the systems we have, people are both unaccustomed to asking for help, and people are unaccustomed to looking for someone to lend a hand to. I see the proposed solution as a transition.

                Also, I would bet the current federal systems would collapse immediately, with a big scramble for a few years as people became accustomed to the new system (Who Moved My Cheese?)…queue the socialist violins

              • #89427
                Anonymous
                Inactive

                  Weird, I posted here earlier but my post is gone.

                  One big issue with “charity” is that it’s usually super-specific, e.g., “Help victims of Hurricane Whatever”, it’s not a long-term solution to replace the welfare state.

                  Before the welfare state most folks were covered through systems of mutual aid like friendly societies, benefit societies, fraternal orders, etc. For the cost of a paycheck a year working class folks could receive life insurance, health coverage, etc. Many doctors made a living working directly for benefit societies until such activity was outlawed. By the turn of the last century most of these institutions were regulated out of the welfare market and replaced by the welfare state. The ones that remained degenerated into social clubs or became insurance companies themselves. Probably the closest analogue nowadays is groups like NA or AA, if anyone is familiar with how broad their support networks are (hopefully secondhand!).

                  It’s worth noting that while nowadays such programs are identified with socialists, it was often conservative governments that backed them as a means of stifling support for radical groups. Imperial Germany was the first in Europe to pass a universal health care law.

                  So in reality the current crisis over health care costs and the insolvency of Medicare, etc., is itself a government created crisis, but I’m sure everyone here realized that already.

                • #89428
                  Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                  Moderator

                    Weird, I posted here earlier but my post is gone.

                    I fixed it. ;-)

                    Please see Missing Posts and the Spam filter!

                    It’s worth noting that while nowadays such programs are identified with socialists…

                    No need for insults! B-)

                    The 501c program that provides a variety missions within my community is supported by evil capitalists, corporations, and all volunteer staffing and I wouldn’t label it Socialist. :yes:

                    We actually avoid any Government support, far too many strings attached!

                  • #89429
                    JohnnyMac
                    Participant

                      One big issue with “charity” is that it’s usually super-specific, e.g., “Help victims of Hurricane Whatever”, it’s not a long-term solution to replace the welfare state

                      I don’t agree that super specific 501c donations make up the bulk of giving, but I don’t have data to back it up. Also, many of these “specific” 501c’s exist because they fill a need that isn’t being met in some other way (no government help) and people who believe in the cause stepping up to meet that need.

                      I’m saying giving people the choice to put their money where they see fit IS the long term solution. Liberty almost always places the burden on the individual. If someone wants to be reckless and allocate all of their social welfare tax to a “feed the cats” charity,for example, fine. Good luck to them with getting help from a local charity when they can’t put food on the table (seeing as how they allocated all their money to “feed the cats”) It’s the risk of giving people choice. I have faith that most people will allocate their taxes judiciously- and if enough people don’t, there is no one to blame but your fellow citizens.

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