A Receipt for Taxpayers

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Friday, October 01, 2010 at 10:32 am

Via Ezra Klein, Third Way has a great proposal (PDF) for an itemized receipt to go along with each taxpayers’ return:

Third Way writes, “An electorate unschooled in basic budget facts is a major obstacle to controlling the nation’s deficit, not to mention addressing a host of economic and social problems. We suggest that everyone who files a tax return receive a [receipt].”

Giving people information like this tends have little effect (c.f. what happened when New York required calorie information to be posted on chain restaurants’ menus). Nevertheless, it is a good idea and might help at least some Americans understand that to really cut the budget, the United States needs to cut entitlements. Most Americans want to balance the budget with cuts to things like foreign aid — which in Third Way’s example costs only $46 for the taxpayer. Medicare alone eats up $625.

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32 Comments

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Pingback posted October 1, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

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t4toby
Comment posted October 1, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

How can we spend 44.4% of our GDP (Here) on military yet the biggest expenditure is Social Security? Something is wrong here…


RParker
Comment posted October 1, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

It should be separated out into two sections – the payroll tax and what it funds and the income/other taxes and what they fund.


captainfrogbert
Comment posted October 1, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

You know what? I don't care about the “entitlements.” What I would care about, were I this taxpayer, is that $229.17 going to Iraq and Afghanistan.

And, frankly, I don't believe these numbers anyway. Where's the CIA and the dozens of other super secret spy agencies we've been hearing about lately? Where's the pentagon? Surely you don;t expect us to believe that “military personnel” and military benefits and retirement cover the entire 800 billion a year in pentagon funding? Where's the budget for the state department and all the other bureaucracies?

Yeah, on even a casual perusal, these numbers seem as phony as a three dollar bill.


KH
Comment posted October 1, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

So where's the rest of it? This only adds up to about $3250.


EdG
Comment posted October 1, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

This is a dumb post. I don't know if the blogger is ignorant or is being deliberately obtuse. You can't cut the budget by cutting entitlements. Why? Because Social Security and Medicare contribute an excess of funds to the government. If you cut Social Security and Medicare taxes to reflect the cuts in benefits, the government won't have that excess money to use elsewhere.

Why on Earth would you want to cut the only two government programs (Social Security and Medicare) that collect more in taxes than they spend? If you want to cut Medicaid, fine, it's not collected as part of FICA taxes. If you think too many people are on SSDI (over 9 million added in the past 8 years), fine, cut the rolls. But cutting the benefit of people who have paid into the system for 50 or 60 years is just plain dumb.

The best thing to do is separate SS and Medicare from the general budget and adjust the FICA rate and/or income limit to maintain solvency. Then, and only then, can you talk about balancing the budget, because it is spending OTHER than SS/Medicare that does not collect enough in income taxes to pay for itself.

We can balance the non-SS/Medicare budget (i.e., the $1.3 trillion deficit) by getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq, ending the so-called War on Terror, letting the Bush income tax cuts expire, and fine-tuning some of the income tax rates as well as collecting the $300 billion annually that tax cheats and corporate tax avoiders fail to pay.

We'll have the budget balanced lickety-split, and this blogger can go on to write factually incorrect posts about other things she knows little or nothing about.


Vidro3
Comment posted October 1, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

i dont think that is 44% of GDP.I understood the pie chart to mean 44% of the world totaly.


t4toby
Comment posted October 1, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

Where is the author of this post? Why can't they answer how messed up and misleading this 'receipt' is?

It's like going to the grocery store and not having items that begin with every other letter. You can't make good decisions with partial information.


vabelle
Comment posted October 1, 2010 @ 11:07 pm

CIA is so secret, they'd have to kill you if they told you their budget or your contribution to it.


Tmax01
Comment posted October 2, 2010 @ 3:44 am

You need to completely separate income tax (and the federal budget) from FICA tax (and Social Security), or else you're just making people stupid on purpose by confusing them for no reason. And only the subsidized portion of Medicare (it is insurance the subscribers pay for) should be considered, putting it further down the list….


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