I saw this really awesome post over at Sociological Images and I thought it was totally worth a post here. This is what Third Way says our tax dollars are going to:
Here in Republican Utah, there are few real issues that provoke more enthusiastic approval than condemnation of excessive government spending. In the spirit of the locale, I offer (off the top of my head) the tax receipt I'd rather be getting. It's a little like the "if I were to win the lottery" game, except that it's the "if I were to reform capitalism" game. Clearly one is far less likely than the other.
1) Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid: We can't say much for ourselves as a people if we fail to care for our ill and our elderly. If someone has a suggestion for a system that will genuinely do a better job, I'm all for it.
2) Interest on the National Debt: Obviously should be eliminated over time via management.
3) Combat Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Military Personnel, and Veteran's Benefits: Cut it all, honoring current contracts until they run out, but using the labor to build infrastructure in the US instead of killing people.
4) National Parks: Hells yes.
5) Federal Highways: 50% should be put into Amtrak. Will the highways become overcrowded, ill-maintained, and impractical to use? Yes. Alternately, we could pay for all road maintenance out of fuel taxes. Sometimes it's better to make life worse sooner instead of later.
6) Health Care Research: Dunno enough about it.
7) Foreign Aid: Should go into sustainability R&D with open patent rights. If you weren't aware, currently it goes into propping up violent dictatorships in the name of "democracy."
8) Education for Low Income K-12: Of course. Also, radical school system reform.
9) Military Retirement: Pay out existing contracts, and then funds should be used to fund a new military system of mandatory-participation militias which engage in no conflicts off of American soil.
10) Pell Grants for Low Income College Students: See #8.
11) NASA: Yes, for aesthetic reasons.
12) IRS: You have to have some overhead and some tax collection if you're going to have a government at all. . .
13) Environmental Clean Up: Keep, and increase fines on polluters enough to a)give the EPA some teeth, and b)cover the increased operational costs of increased enforcement.
14) FBI: I'm proposing a society where everyone knows how to use an assault rifle, and there are no professional killers. Do you really think we'd still need it? Maybe keep half.
15) Head Start: After well over a decade, the gains made in head start still disappear by the end of elementary school. This money should go to adult literacy programs and educational resources for parents instead.
16) Public Housing: Don't know enough about it, but I want to drop it in favor of aggressive squatters rights.
17) Drug Enforcement Agency: No. All drugs should be legal. The taxes on said drugs should cover the cost of law enforcement, recreational substance education, healthcare, safe and clean public using houses, and all other costs to the public.
18) Amtrak: go trains!
19) The Smithsonian and Funding for the Arts: Keep, though it should be more democratically controlled.
20) Salaries and Benefits for Members of Congress: There are lots of different ways this could be done (all better than the current system), but off the top of my head here's one. We should create an aggressive definition of corruption and treat it as a criminal offense instead of a civil one. Then we should maintain a zero tolerance policy when enforcing it, and members of congress should have to live on the minimum wage bills they put through. We expect our school teachers to be volunteers, I don't see why we should treat politicians better.
Anyone else want to play?