Patterico noted, in an article entitled “I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it”:
PATTERICO MOUNTS SOAPBOX — GINGERLY, OF COURSE, AS HE IS IN FACT GETTING OLDER: This is one of the reasons I’d like to see withholding ended. I argued for this in January 2004 (wow, saying that makes me feel a little old, just like mounting this soapbox did):
You want the cure for big government?
No more withholding.
As it is, people don’t feel as though the money that is being withheld is really theirs. It’s like they never got it in the first place — because they didn’t.
Under my regime, it wouldn’t be that way.
Under my regime, every pay period you would personally set aside the amount of money you will need to save up for the eventual tax bill. Come April 15, you would take out your checkbook and write a huge check to the federal government — for thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars.
You think you might start thinking twice about what they’re doing with your money then?
Today, I would add one other suggestion: a requirement that the government send taxpayers an itemized bill showing the breakdown of what they owe and what the money is going for.
After all, generally we decide whether a good or service is “worth it” when we fork over the money. If the money comes pre-forked, and we’re never told how much we are paying for what, how can we make an informed decision about value? At that point, the government service feels like it’s free, even though, on an intellectual level, we know it isn’t. “I supported [insert name of government program or agency here] until I found out how much I was paying for it” would be a very common phrase — if we sent out itemized bills and did away with withholding.
The downside, of course, is that we would probably collect a lot less in taxes. The upside? The People would demand that we spend a lot less.
On balance, I think it would be better.
People are generally “all for” more government services until they find out they are paying for them.
More at the link.
Part of our problem is that we haven’t been paying for all of the government services we have: instead, we’ve been borrowing a rather large amount of money to pay for more government than we are willing to be taxed to support.
And, of course, there’s the problem that a lot of
Democrats people are willing to raise taxes on other people to fund more government services, but not raise taxes on themselves. Rather, they advocate raising taxes on the top producers in our economy and, of course, those wicked ol’ corporations, because those same Democrats people are too ignorant to realize that corporations pay no taxes at all; they simply pass along the taxes imposed on them to the end consumer of their products. In the end, individuals pay for everything.
It could be argued that Patterico’s proposal simply wouldn’t work; far too many people wouldn’t be able to save up enough to pay their taxes. But, given the way our government spending is completely out of control, I’d say that it’s difficult to argue that our current system of withholding works either.
Perhaps some form of system such as quarterly filing for everybody might help?