Proposal One Edit
The Pro Case Edit
Currently close to 40% of all tax revenue generated by the government goes towards defense spending, and a half of the remainder goes to paying the interest on the debt that we have accumilated! All things considered, we spend only about a third of our money on addressing domestic needs, and after Medicare and such have next to no funds to address issues such as poverty or foreign aid. Most americans agree that not enough is done to help those struggling in America.
However conservatives insist that the govt. is too inefficent to do it properly. Some like Dan Ewert feel that...
"Under the current system, my money is involuntarily taken away from me and used to fund programs that are unresponsive, ineffective, and eye-poppingly inefficient. Scant little of what I put into the system actually makes it to the people who need it. Since modern welfare is run by the government, then it’s a bureaucratic monopolistic colossus that faces no competition, no threat of being dissolved, and is guaranteed an almost unlimited supply of income whenever it needs it. Under those conditions, the majority of the money it receives is eaten up in administrative overhead. I’d far prefer to take that same money and give it to organizations that will use it wisely and efficiently. "
And in all honesty, they do have a point. But charity as it currently stands cannot and will not be able to compensate for welfare for very good reasons.
So here is a compromise of sorts.
Each dependent and individual covered under the file gets a 10,000 tax exemption. Thus a family of four making $40,000 would pay nothing in taxes.
For each dollar above this, you pay 20% on it in taxes up to $100,000
For each dollar above this, you pay 35% in taxes.
In addition, state taxes, local taxes, sales taxes and all other taxes are eliminated. States get paid proportionally 50% of the average collected for every person they have.
In addition, while filing their taxes, individuals can indicate that they would like to donate up to 10% of their total tax dues to one of several nationally recognized charities listed and described instead of giving this money to the IRS. No individual can donate more than $5000 to any particular charity.
To qualify, the nonprofit organization...
1. Must not be affiliated with any political group or intentionally discriminate against any race, religion, or ethnic group.
2. Must be nationally based with several branches, to ensure that the money goes to the areas that need it most.
3. Must either aid the sick, the poor, the unemployed (ie job training), the environment, disaster relief programs, civil service agencies (such as volunteer firemen), apprenticeship programs, orphanages, day care centers, education facilities, conduct medical research, provide international aid, provide information and help on health and safety concerns, provide free counseling, or fund development projects.
4. Must keep through and open accounts so that the media, the government and individual donators can clearly see where the money is going and how it's being spent.
5. Must not give donors any awards or gifts in return for their donations.
6. Must spend less than 5% of their budget on bueracratic costs.
Charities will be competing with each other to do the most good for the cheapest cost. They'll be trying lots of new methods and ideas and find the ones that work the best. They'll address every aspect of society in need of reform. Everyone comes out a winner as a result.
With this plan, you're given the option to decide how a portion of your tax money should be spent. You can spend it to help the poor, fund medical research, train people to work, educate kids, improve the environment, faith based initiatives that don't discriminate and don't spend too much on bueracratic costs or just about any other area you're interested in.
THIS PROPOSAL REALLY WOULDN'T COST THE GOVERNMENT THAT MUCH MONEY. Much of our tax revenue comes from corporations anyways, and only individuals are eligible for this program. In addition, the vast majority of people will only choose one or two charities or so to give $5000 or so to and simply give the rest to the IRS to let the government deal with it. And many others are simply too lazy to take advantage of this at all and will simply give all their taxes to the IRS instead.
There is something inherently democratic about the notion of letting the tax payers decide how a portion of their taxes will be spent. And mixing free market capitalism into charities will do a world of good. The reason capitalism trumped socialism is because of all the experimentation that occurs. Corporations will try many many ideas and the most successful and revolutionary ones blossom. The government on the other hand often suffers from tunnel vision and as a result rarely tries revolutionary new methods that could end up doing a lot of good.
For example, one method that is proving to be extremely successful in reforming trobuled teens is positively reinforcing not continueing their negative habits. This not only seems to work extremely well in the short term but is changing people's lives forever and making drug addicts into extremely productive individuals. The power of positive reinforcement is grossly underestimated. Yet the government doesn't really give a lot of funding to these products simply because it takes a lot of money to gain access to and present to senators data on successful projects that they can fund. But with a system like the one mentioned above, people can fund these very successful endeavors themselves and have them gain in prominence.
Currently you don't have to pay taxes on any money you donate to charity. But you still have to cough up 67 cents or so for every dollar you wish to have go to charity. This is why so few people take advantage of this. It still costs them a lot of money.
This way, you're essentially getting back every dollar you give for charity.
You get to decide how your tax money is spent essentially.
Now THAT's Democracy.
There are many charities that don't have arbitrary cut offs. People can choose to donate to those.
The requirements aren't very restrictive. Even if a couple of the current charities violate some of them. They will fix these violations in order to get the massive amounts in donations they'll undoubtedly recieve. All those requirements are there for very very good reasons. The reasons listed in the article posted.
Conservatives are argueing to cut welfare altogether argueing that charities would pick up the slack. That's why welfare spending keeps getting smaller and more and more poor go unhelped.
As the article above proves, getting rid of welfare to reduce taxes in hopes that donations will increase simply wouldn't work. But my solution would address all the concerns raised below without continuing the current trend of letting a bueracraic monopolistic inefficent organization bear the entire burden.
There is nothing about the proposal that excludes religous/faith based charities.
The two restrictions on them are that they must...
a.) Not intentionally discriminate against anyone based on their religious beliefs. of course tax money shouldn't go to charities that discriminate based on religion. but there are many religious related charities (i think the salvation army being one) that help all the poor, not just those that share their faith.
b.) No more than 5% of their finances can be spent on bueracratic purposes/purposes unrelated to actually helping the people they plan to.
The problems with welfare as it currently is are below...
1. The idea of the government providing social services inherently goes against capitalism.
2. History has shown that private corporation competing to do as much as possible as efficently as possible are often more successful than a monopolistic government that tries to do everything.
3. Welfare on occasion does discourage people from working, and it's because of our own laws. If someone could live almost as well on welfare as they would working 40 hrs a day at a minimum wage job without having to do any work, but would lose their welfare check the second they do go out and get a minimum wage job, they would obviously choose the former option. But charites often give aid, services, and training to whoever needs it or asks for it regardless of whether or not they have a job.
4. The typical conservative view is that... welfare is a waste simply because most of the people who get it rely only on it for income and dont even look for jobs. So we are paying them so they dont have to do anything. Most of these people, if they were to get a job, would be working for minimum wage at the beginning. And from their view, why work for minimum wage when you could just have it given to you (welfare). So they never begin to work, and therefore can never move up the ladder to higher paying jobs. I would rather not give my money to people like this, they should have to work for themselves.
5. And no matter how much we try to change this false opinion, conservatives will continue to cut welfare funding every chance they get.
6. In this system, working a minimum wage job to make ends meet wouldn't disqualify you from getting aid from charities. You would live better than you would under welfare, but you would also feel better knowing that you're doing something productive.
7. Plus it gives people choice in deciding how they want their money spent. They can give to the charities and causes they believe in. Or if they don't feel like it, they simply don't have to indicate any charities and have their money go to the government and let them figure out how to spend it. People who don't believe in welfare have an alternative. It's not like there aren't charities that actively train people, give them clothes, let them have a shower and shave etc so that they can go to job interviews and actually have a shot.
8. The media can even publicize the most successful charities right around tax day. Community development becomes a focus of the public. And the increased scrutiny would ensure that inefficent charities are quickly publicized and starved while congress is often too slow and bueracratic to shut down inefficent social programs. It's captiatlism applied to social goods.
9. Another thing I dislike about welfare, the arbitrary cut offs and deadlines. If you're unlucky and can't find a job by a set date, even if you want to, you're homeless now. Who's going to hire a homeless guy without a shower or a shave? You're basically screwed. If you make above a certain point, you're off welfare. So you're encouraged to work only a certain amount and no more.
10. The issue is that conservatives consistently insist that charities do a better job than the govt in giving aid and use this arguement to cut govt welfare funding. As a result, social programs are often ill funded and thus ineffective. By giving the power back to the people, this would all change.
11. There are national charities that give job training and help people get jobs. There are lots of charities that help finance and fund schools and colleges. Think about how much money they would rake in. If that's what you believe in, then that's where you'll give most. The areas that are most vital to social funding would get most funding.