Monday, October 4, 2010

Itemized IRS Tax Receipts: Keeping Citizens Aware and Government Measurably Accoutnable

Several prominent bloggers have been debating the virtues of what the theoretical itemized IRS tax receipt would look like if issued to normal citizens. It's the least we should expect as active tax-paying participants in this semi-functional exercise in representative democracy. See above for an example. This theoretical receipt is a tad appalling when dissected. As a young taxpayer, this awakens my inner slasher. All I do is see numbers that need to be cut. Our forefathers partially went to war over taxes on commodities, one wonders when our inner common-sense will be enraged by the bloat and obtuseness suggested by such a document and incited to rightoeus action. It is clear that my generation and younger is being thoroughly sodomized by the entitlement happy folks of my parents and grand-parents generations. I'll be lucky to see a dented nickel when it comes time for me to collect any social security.

I want more transparency and accountability in government and part of me would thoroughly love to be informed to how my hard-earned money was allocated. However, given generations of behaving like ostriches, with our collective heads in the sand, seeing such a document and understanding how deep our governmental spending rot truly is, such a document may actually push to depress me to the point of apathetic disengagement. At this stage, does self-medicating to point of willful ignorance present a preferred outcome to civic engagement that is bound to disappoint? Just some food for thought.

1 comment:

  1. Here's an idea that wouldn't be that hard to do: when someone e-files, just have a computer program that automatically produces an itemized receipt like the one above based on pre-set percentages for that particular year as applied to the total tax paid by the taxpayer. It'd be a good incentive to e-file, actually (obviously the math's not that hard, but it's still a hassle).

    The only problem is that this significantly understates the real, long-term tax burden: we need an addition item for "Deficit (money to be paid back later, with interest)".