Show Me The Money

Justin Haskins Heartland Institute
Published June 17, 2015

One of the challenges the seemingly never-ending list of Republican presidential candidates must face in what is sure to be an all-out political brawl in 2016 is finding a unique way to explain that America does not have a tax revenue problem; it has a massive spending addiction.

In one election after another, Republican presidential candidates seem to fall short in this area, often playing into the disgusting Democratic caricature of conservatism as a political philosophy that belongs to rich, bitter taxpayers tired of seeing their money go toward helping the nation’s impoverished. Republicans need to find a way to show every working American a simple, rhetoric-free way to display how much money they are really giving to ineffective government projects and the growing Washington bureaucratic machine.

One of the best methods to accomplish this is for GOP’s new batch of presidential hopefuls to propose a new campaign for “taxpayer transparency.” Taxpayers deserve to know and have access to data that clearly show just how much money a person has paid in taxes, not just for one year but for an entire lifetime, as well as a brief description of how that money has been spent.

Taxpayers should be notified using three different methods to maximize transparency. First, federal law should require lifetime federal tax contribution amounts, along with monthly and annual totals, to be printed on every single paystub, giving taxpayers easy access to these totals on every payday.

Second, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should be required to mail every U.S. taxpayer a short annual report in the mail that displays monthly, annual and lifetime tax contribution amounts, along with simple charts breaking down the percentage of tax dollars spent by department, project type and a variety of other categories.

Can you imagine how many taxpayers would instantly think twice about voting for candidates who add to the national debt when they realize net interest is costing them well over $200 billion per year, a figure that is expected to rise to nearly $800 billion by 2024?

[Originally published at the Washington Times]