Good ideas sometimes take a while to ripen in Washington, D.C. such as Andrew Langer’s 2008 idea to send taxpayers a receipt of what their dollars bought:
“We believe that the government ought to provide a receipt to each taxpayer in October of every year — a note of thanks detailing the total amount in federal income taxes paid by the filer for the prior calendar year,” Langer said. “If Americans are to really exercise their oversight roles, then the federal government has its own obligation to ensure that the populace knows exactly what they are paying. And saying thank you is, frankly, just good manners.”
He said the measure is an alternative to moving tax-filing day to October to coincide more closely with elections — an idea that has been popular on the right for some time.
As for the idea gaining any traction in Congress, Langer said his organization is going to start pushing members on the matter.
Now, Scott Brown (R-MA aka the former Kennedy seat) and co-sponsor Bill Nelson (D-FL) propose a bill called the Taxpayer Receipt Act of 2011, to do exactly this. The Tax Receipt Bill will take Obama’s attempt at transparency one step further: It will give taxpayers concrete evidence of how their money is spent.
Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh have joked for years about having Tax Day be Election Day. Well, at least with a receipt, the Taxpayers can see what they’re spending money on. My guess, with each American owing $45,000 to the Federal government, they’d be keenly interested in knowing how well the government stewards their money.
This bill could be transformational. Imagine receiving an accounting of what each citizen owes–the interest on the national debt, costs for Medicaid, Medicare, national defense, education, foreign aid, etc.
Most people do not pay anywhere near the amount each individual owes, too. Not only would big taxpayers be outraged (they already are outraged), people who pay less in taxes but receive huge benefits would also see how their personal path, affects the goverments’ path, and that it’s unsustainable.
With the country being in such a precarious financial place, it’s difficult for people to understand what the debt means to each individual. How does one compute 14 trillion dollars? How does one carve out his own his own part and responsibility?
The Tax Payer Receipt Act will do just that–kinda like the calorie charts the government loves imposing on food companies. It’s about time a corpulent America learn how overweight they are and how many calories the government is eating turns to fat.
Scott Brown’s legislation is a common sense solution to the getting the Federal Government back in shape.
Sign a petition to encourage Congress to act on this bill at TheTaxReceipt.com