Step 1: You need to be a federal taxpayer. If you are a taxpayer, move on to Step 2. If you are not a taxpayer, come join us when you pay taxes. Until then, GFY.
Step 2: When you file your federal income taxes, you will get a list of budget line items and a percentage next to them. It's almost like filling out your 401k contribution/allocations. Looks a little something like this:
The form will show what the recent spending allocations were, and you can then add in YOUR preferences on the right hand column. You will notice that the government spending is in brown highlights, because they are poop. Big smelly toilet bowl poop. They suck at life and if government were a person, I hope they would fall in a sewer, break their neck and then have their dick eaten off by a rat. Anyway, this is where your political leanings come into play.
Step 3: Create a transitionary five year window to ease in and reallocate funds based on emerging trends. In other words, say the first five years we see an emerging trend where taxpayers have asked to give less to the military and entitlements. The CBO or Budget Appropriations Committee gradually reallocates more and more each year as we get to our new 'taxpayer approved' budget funding amount.
Step 4: No matter what you choose, you are on the hook to have an 'off the top' amount of your taxes go to paying interest on our lovely $17.6 trillion debt. If that doesn't make you pay more attention to government expenditures and what the Federal Reserve is doing to print money into oblivion to monetize the debt, I don't know what will. Right now it's about $250 billion annually, and only going up (wait till treasury yields spike and it doubles). Scared or pissed off yet?
Without getting to soapboxy, here's my mindset as I filled this out (in case you can't figure it out, I've turned heel on the failed two-party system and am a full-blown libertarian):
- We have troops in 150+ countries. No need. Constitution was set up to for DEFENSIVE purposes not OFFENSIVE purposes. So beef up the border and defense capabilities. Cut offense. Boost veteran benefits. 30% of my taxes will go to benefits and defense boosting.
- Cut Medicare in half. If you are over the average age of 78 years old, you are on your own for healthcare. It's been a nice ride, and if you make it to 90 years old, we throw you a big party and then drop an anvil on your head to kill you. All partygoers are onboard with this, and you sign off on the timing/circumstances. Government funds your party, and you can actually choose how you get killed. Ok 100% kidding, you humorless douchenozzle. Stop getting all worked up. 18% of my taxes go to the sloppy healthcare system.
- Cut social benefits. Food stamps cut in half, housing assistance, and supplemental income as well. You're already getting supplemental income by selling drugs. Let's be honest with each other. You're not actively looking for a job for 94 weeks but kick it into second gear from 95-99 weeks. I'm onto you. 12% of my taxes go to social benefits.
- Quadruple education spending, but to new categories. Let charter schools flourish, because public schools aren't getting the job done. Instead of throwing good money after bad, time to throw it somewhere else. My suggestion is to put most of the increases to vocational schools so that it dovetails with my previous suggestion in a prior blog post to redirect students who are not a perfect fit for college and would waste their four years with a stupid useless major when they could skip all that debt and choose a vocation. This changes the game and also deflates the tuition cost bubble (ever so slightly) for universities due to slightly lower demand. 13% of my taxes to education.
- Other neat areas to defund: International Aid, Foreign Affairs, discontinue $1 billion annual dues to United Nations, space is cool, but we've done what we've set out to do, so sorry NASA. But reallocate to border security (as mentioned earlier), and give our veterans more benefits (as mentioned earlier). This loosely takes care of the other 27% of my tax dollar.This can be a fun exercise - feel free to print out the image and fill this out yourself. I took it from the Congressional Budget Office website (I think) and made my own excel file with it. You feel empowered filling it out, and it helps you cope with the fact that your vote no longer counts in this country. So instead of being bitter about 'your guy' not winning, you can at least rest assured knowing you have some say in where your hard-earned money gets spent. But what does this mean for the future of our country?
Presumably, if enough people 'wake up' and start to question the government's ineptitude as steward of our tax revenues, we will start to see improvements. If a democrat wins, that won't necessarily mean entitlements go through the roof, because we the people have seen the wastefulness and have had enough. If a republican wins, that won't necessarily mean misguided foreign adventures and corporate welfare, because we the people have seen the incompetence and have had enough. Over time, military spending contracts (or gets reallocated to areas of military spending important to our nation's defense). Maybe removing us from other countries that we have no business being in will make other countries hate us less? Did that occur to anyone? Less terror attacks? Less reliance on foreign oil? Do we reinvest our tax revenues in energy expansion so that it's all in house? Who knows - YOU would get to choose that!
What else could happen? Social program funding begins to subside when we realize people got jobs 4x faster in the post-Depression era than they do now. Pssst - there was also a flimsier safety net 70 years ago. And they still got it done. What about healthcare? If we start reducing healthcare subsidies, will that perhaps change our behavior? Do we take care of ourselves better? You know one of the main drivers of expensive healthcare here is adult onset diabetes and preventable diseases that we funnel craploads of money into treatment because Americans are careless eaters? Through behavioral economics, WE could stem the tide of rising healthcare costs. Finally, we reform the education system because the usual sacred cows are put out to pasture and a new wave of thinking gribs academia. Charter schools abound, which are privately funded and have better success rates. Vocational schools help redirect millions of students away from traditional four year colleges where 80% of graduates choose a career outside of what they actually majored in. Over a 10-20 year period, we have the power to change the very complexion THE VERY complexion of the United States expenditures. Does this excite you?
Next post: radically changing government.