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Paying your Taxes


Dec 19 2010, 01:13 AM (Post #1)
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When you finally get a job here in the USA, you're faced with the unfortunate end of paying taxes. I deem it unfortunate not because I don't believe in paying it forward or giving back to the country I live, but because its unfortunate to see my tax money spent in ways that are fruitless, disagreeable and just downright dumb in some places.

If I could, with my W-2 every year, I would include a checklist of relevant government issues that I could allocate my taxable income towards. That way, I would feel like I have ownership of my country in that I know my money is going towards something I believe in, not something my elected Congressman thinks (and no matter how much you contact your Congressman, your Congressman still cares more about the money corporate interests are sticking in his back pocket).

I would think that on a wider scale, people will choose what they want to choose and things would even out. Military individuals would allocate their taxes as so, educators and entrepreneurs and scientists towards what they believe in and things would balance out for the most part.

What do you guys here think?
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Dec 19 2010, 03:39 AM (Post #2)
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QUOTE (HAHAHA @ Dec 18 2010, 05:13 PM)
When you finally get a job here in the USA, you're faced with the unfortunate end of paying taxes.  I deem it unfortunate not because I don't believe in paying it forward or giving back to the country I live, but because its unfortunate to see my tax money spent in ways that are fruitless, disagreeable and just downright dumb in some places.

If I could, with my W-2 every year, I would include a checklist of relevant government issues that I could allocate my taxable income towards. That way, I would feel like I have ownership of my country in that I know my money is going towards something I believe in, not something my elected Congressman thinks (and no matter how much you contact your Congressman, your Congressman still cares more about the money corporate interests are sticking in his back pocket).

I would think that on a wider scale, people will choose what they want to choose and things would even out. Military individuals would allocate their taxes as so, educators and entrepreneurs and scientists towards what they believe in and things would balance out for the most part.

What do you guys here think?
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No matter what happens, if you do this, it's vulnerable to the Tragedy of the Commons. Many people will have no interest in paying for what they do not individually benefit (much) from, and this will actually increase the number of special interest contributions.

On the whole, it's a great idea, but is limited by the problems of human psychology.

A better idea would be to have some online forum (or some other medium) where people can actually bring up, discuss, and debate the various things that they really care about—a Town Hall, if you will.

But that's totally inefficient. We have a republic because we don't want everyone to have to know everything happening.

Unfortunately the problem is that our representatives aren't representing our best interests. The solution would be to randomly sample 100,000 people in the country each year (for national issues) and get their collective voices. (Anyone with a solid grounding in statistics will realize that randomly sampling 100,000 people is more than enough to get you the margin of error that's reasonable.
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Dec 19 2010, 09:30 AM (Post #3)
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QUOTE (HAHAHA @ Dec 18 2010, 08:13 PM)
When you finally get a job here in the USA, you're faced with the unfortunate end of paying taxes.  I deem it unfortunate not because I don't believe in paying it forward or giving back to the country I live, but because its unfortunate to see my tax money spent in ways that are fruitless, disagreeable and just downright dumb in some places.

If I could, with my W-2 every year, I would include a checklist of relevant government issues that I could allocate my taxable income towards. That way, I would feel like I have ownership of my country in that I know my money is going towards something I believe in, not something my elected Congressman thinks (and no matter how much you contact your Congressman, your Congressman still cares more about the money corporate interests are sticking in his back pocket).

I would think that on a wider scale, people will choose what they want to choose and things would even out. Military individuals would allocate their taxes as so, educators and entrepreneurs and scientists towards what they believe in and things would balance out for the most part.

What do you guys here think?
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iirc, you're willing to donate money to a college because it helped you grow. Surely money colleges spend is worse than the gov?
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Dec 19 2010, 09:48 AM (Post #4)
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I'm speaking purely the government here. College is another thread.
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Dec 19 2010, 05:35 PM (Post #5)
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QUOTE (Jinghao @ Dec 18 2010, 10:39 PM)
No matter what happens, if you do this, it's vulnerable to the Tragedy of the Commons.
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Huh. I find myself agreeing with Jinghao.

This is why many Republicans advocate 'limited government' which provides services of universal public benefit, but remains limited and scrutinized enough as not to overspend, or spend fruitlessly, etc.
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Dec 19 2010, 08:50 PM (Post #6)
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QUOTE (HAHAHA @ Dec 19 2010, 04:48 AM)
I'm speaking purely the government here. College is another thread.
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I was pointing out your reasons. You cannot control where the money goes in either case, but you'd choose to give it in one scenario but not the other. So there must be more reasons which you haven't stated.
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Dec 19 2010, 09:40 PM (Post #7)
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QUOTE (Jodi Gajadar @ Dec 19 2010, 09:35 AM)
Huh. I find myself agreeing with Jinghao.

This is why many Republicans advocate 'limited government' which provides services of universal public benefit, but remains limited and scrutinized enough as not to overspend, or spend fruitlessly, etc.
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Well... That's because there was no opinion there. It's just what you'd see if you were to analyze his proposal. But thanks.

I think that's the wrong "thesis" to make from my statement. Just because Al's proposal would lead to the Tragedy of the Commons does not mean that "limited government" is the right approach.

I'm referring to activities of collective interest, like security, education, etc. In fact, the Tragedy of the Commons implies that there's a strong reason for having some central authority be responsible for some of the "Common" activities as mentioned above. Sure, there are many things that the government should NOT be involved in—in particular individual social issues that do not suffer from the Tragedy of the Commons (Do you really think that letting gay men marry will lead to a collapse in civilization, for example?).

Anyway, my point is that while Al's proposal seems plausible, the human psychology is bent in a way that would limit (or inhibit) its effectiveness.
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