What if you could choose how your tax dollars were spent? Would you feel better about Tax Day? Would you be willing to pay more? These were the questions posed in a post-tax return essay by Ethan Porter published last year in Democracy.
When I return a movie to Netflix, the company e-mails me to let me know when it has received the film. And when I purchase almost anything–any good or service–I am provided with a receipt, which shows not only proof of purchase but also documents what, precisely, I have bought. Yet I didn’t know that the Treasury had received my money until the check cleared my bank account. And I was never provided with a receipt documenting what I had received in exchange for it. It’s often said that our government is stuck in the twentieth century; in this area, at least, that complaint would be charitable.
This year Porter can have his receipt, via a White House web app called Your Federal Taxpayer Receipt. You plug in your 2010 payment and a receipt is generated. Spoiler alert: you’re spending a lot of money on our nation’s wars.
I’ve taken the top 10 spending categories (as provided by the White House) and listed them as part of a highly unscientific reader survey below.
Take a minute and rank the spending priorities to reflect how you would want your tax dollars spent. Then see the real time results here or wait to see them once you’ve submitted your rankings.