A Radical Tax Policy Proposal: The Individual Taxpayer Earmark
The Individual Taxpayer Earmark Principle: Taxpayers should have the right to earmark the money they pay in taxes to fund only those functions and institutions of the federal government they believe worthy of funding by their tax dollars.
What It Would Do: Individuals, if they actively acknowledged a desire to earmark their tax dollars (by checking a box on their tax forms or something comparably simple), would be able to express their acceptance, rejection, desirability, and preferred utilization of all the different various government
Agencies, Administrations, Associations, Assessments, Authorities, Activities, Bureaus, Banks, Branches, Boards, Commissions, Commands, Committees, Companies, Conferences, Councils, Caucuses, Corps, Corporations, Centers, Departments, Directors, Divisions, Executive Offices, Factions, Foundations, Groups, Institutes, Laboratories, Mandates, Ministries, Missions, Networks, Offices, Organizations, Programs, Units, Unions, Sectors, Services, Systems, Teams, Wings, etc… that exist at the federal level.
The Individual Taxpayer Earmark would serve as a precise check on the federal government directly by the people.
Currently, the best check the people have on the federal government and their elected officials that serve in it is voting during election time every 2 years. However, voting does not directly signal to elected officials what the voters' policy preferences may actually be. At best, in a two-party system, voting for candidate A over candidate B can be inferred only to mean that the voter generally preferred the sum total of the policy stances (those of which the voter had knowledge about) of candidate A over candidate B. No inference of specific policy stances by the voters may be drawn from the voting process except perhaps in the aggregate of the voting bloc.
Thus, egregious abuses of power may be undertaken by officials in the federal government, but if the voters still generally prefer the sum total of policy stances (including the abuses of power) by those officials over their electoral competitors come election day, it can reasonably be deduced that the abusive officials will be reelected and such behavior will likely continue as no significant enough disincentive exists to halt it.
How can the citizenry directly and effectively signal to their elected officials their policy preferences? Empower the citizen to earmark their tax dollars as they see fit in order to fund the functions and institutions of the federal government they believe worthy of funding.
For example, consider the long train of unconstitutional abuses by the TSA. Their contempt and utter disregard for 4th Amendment protections is regularly on display, and as a result of this and other abhorrent behavior and distinguished failings characteristic of the TSA, the average citizen has, and rightfully so, a very negative outlook on the TSA. Yet the policy preference of the citizenry, namely a much less-intrusive, functioning TSA (or no TSA at all), is not reflected in any substantive way at the federal level. Why not? Must the TSA reach a level of extremism wholly intolerable before action is taken by elected officials to change it? Surely waiting for such extremism to inevitably develop is intolerable in and of itself. If the individual citizen is empowered to earmark their tax dollars specifically to not fund any aspect of the TSA or its expenditures, the citizen sends a powerful message to government officials about that citizen's outlook on the TSA. If enough citizens similarly earmark their tax dollars (again, to not fund the TSA), the issue of drastically changing the TSA (or ending it) will become a necessity for elected officials to address, thusly compelling them to rectify the situation earlier than it otherwise might have been.
How It Would Work: Taxpayers will be required to pay the full amount they owe in taxes, however, where those tax dollars are allocated throughout the federal bureaucracy will be up to the taxpayer. If the taxpayer has no preference in allocating their tax dollars, normal budgeting rules will take precedent. But when the taxpayer specifically expresses their preference for tax dollar allocation, that allocation must be adhered to. This includes the ability of the taxpayer to specify a preference that all their tax dollars are to be used to pay down the National Debt.
If the taxpayer decides that a portion of federal bureaucracy is becoming unruly, s/he may signal so by allocating less money in tax dollars than in previous times. For example, if the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice begins to file indefensibly boneheaded lawsuits against the most successful and innovative companies in the United States, the taxpayer may signal their well-justified dislike in the Antitrust Division's newfound dimwittedness by allocating fewer tax dollars for them than in previous times. In the aggregate, this behavior would send a powerful signal to the Antitrust Division that their empty-headed shortsightedness needs to stop.
Tell me what you think about my Individual Taxpayer Earmark proposal, whether you love it, hate it, or find it somewhere in between. I would love and greatly value any and all feedback!