Just like a bad penny that keeps turning up – April 15 is here again. Philosophically, I have no problem paying for what our government needs in order to fulfill its constitutional obligation to we the people. But, obviously, a lot of tinkering with the definition of just what that obligation is has taken place the last 100 years. Some folks have managed to finagle taxpayer funding for their own pet projects or passions, and it’s offensive to me that I don’t have the right to opt out.
Even though President Trump has revised this year’s tax code, if I were Queen, I’d take it a step further. I’d resurrect the 45-year-old Burger King slogan, “Have it your way,” and every tax-paying citizen would have the ability to determine how their tax dollars are distributed.
Imagine this if you will, once you or your accountant tallies your tax obligation, you complete a multiple-choice form (more like a catalog given the forced generosity extended on our behalf) designating the government departments or agencies where you would like to see your tax dollars spent.
Another option could be that a base amount would go to national defense, transportation and administration of justice, and the balance of your tax obligation would go to your designated departments - for instance, national parks, housing or environment.
No more funding the National Endowment of the Arts, if you hate art or opera. If your heart is in refugee relief, mark that box, or send it all to Veterans Affairs. The point is that no one would be forced to pay for a program they object to morally, philosophically or on general principle. How un-American is that? And yet it’s been going on for decades.
I’m sure this idea would need some tweaking, but my point is that tax time is the one time we seem to lose the right to choose. In our daily lives, we can choose to turn off the TV if we don’t like a certain actor or news anchor, or if a program isn’t compatible with our personal beliefs. We can choose not to buy products endorsed by people whose behavior we find objectionable. But can we say we don’t want our money sent to Iran? No. Can we say we don’t want to fund expensive trips for congressmen and women who turn “work” into a vacation for their mother, brother, neighbor and anyone else they can fit on that tax-payer funded jet? No.
My suggestion isn’t perfect but it’s my way of starting a conversation. There are women protesting, even campaigning, for the right to choose to end the life of a child not yet born, partially born or already born. All I’m suggesting is the right to choose how our tax dollars are spent.
As of this writing, this is still the United States of America and it’s my opinion that the ability of the American taxpayer to choose what they fund is long overdue. But wait – I just thought of an even better option!
Dear IRS, below are eight approved options for where my tax dollars may be allocated. Choose four!
Connie Clements is a freelance reporter and award-winning columnist, who returned to her passion for writing after retirement from the workforce and motherhood, although one is never fully retired from motherhood. She writes feature news article on a weekly basis and an opinion column as the mood strikes her.