Conscious Taxes

Conscious Tax App

It’s the year 2036.

It’s tax time again, and EVERYONE’S excited about it. You’ve been looking forward to this for almost 8 months because this is the first year in the history of the world that YOU get to decide where your tax dollars go.

Your decisions will have a direct impact on the immediate world around you, and after many decades of failed politics, poor economic policies, the people have finally wrested control over their communities and ecosystems. Politicians finally serve the people.

The Conscious Tax App

You register and sign into the Conscious Tax App for the first time, and you see all the money you were taxed for the previous year on the welcome screen:

$9,311.00

With this amount, you can invest in any program, policy, or plan you would like, as long as it’s given back to the community.  The #1 law regarding taxes is that you CANNOT keep it for yourself, although you can direct it to institutions and programs that serve your interests.

You can give some to the local military or police, infrastructure to keep roads safe, education and schools, healthcare, social security, or even that local politician that works so hard to make sure plans are implemented wisely.

You click a button that leads you to all local proposals, such as a new commuter train system, housing renovations, getting rid of pesky potholes, upgrading local schools and improving agriculture standards.

Every proposal submitted includes:

    • Purpose (what problem does this solve?)
    • Plan costs
    • Benefits, which includes benefits to local ecosystem and surrounding cities
    • Timeframe
    • Negative outcomes (what negative consequences could result from this?)
    • The current funding progress (plans will be initiated once funding is complete – people vote with their dollars)
    • There’s also a list of consequences (some speculative, some based on previous maintenance costs) associated with a plan if it’s NOT funded fully. (Such a list might include no electricity for 2 months, projected 12% increase in criminal activity, 8% rise in higher drop out rates in school, etc.)

    So, what will you do with your tax money?

    Responsibility

    It’s a bigger responsibility, making decisions that not only impact your household, but your entire community. And what if every decision involving every tax dollar was transparent? Others can see where your tax dollars go, and you can see where theirs go. Everybody’s values would be on display.

    Would you support schools and education, building towards a long term vision of your community? Or do you use your money to fund immediate needs, like road and bridge infrastructure? Should you fund that arts program for youth? Or do you allocate funds to that innovative pure water project that might NOT work?

    How do you respond if you’re championing a cause that isn’t getting the necessary attention (or funding) you think it deserves? Wouldn’t you get MORE involved? Wouldn’t you attempt to make something happen?

    Wouldn’t ‘conscious taxes’ make everybody a de facto politician, making people responsible for swaying and influencing others to vote for the ‘best’ worldview imaginable?

    How would YOU create the best ecosystem humanly possible? A place where all community members have the potential to thrive, without institutional barriers.

    I see a world where public debate and discourse would increase. Civic engagement would shoot through the roof. Wall flowers would hit the dance floor.

    Reality

    The truth is, many people are disengaged from politics and policy making.

    The truth is, nobody can pinpoint or know for sure where their tax dollars go – it’s all based on what government tells us.

    The truth is that a very small percentage of the population is involved in any form of civic engagement, let alone public debate – which is mostly left for the politicians and scholars.

    Here, take a look at where your tax dollars are likely to end up:

    bvs_taxesgo_1

    bvs_taxesgo_2

    This doesn’t include Wall St. bailouts, senator’s salary’s and pension plans, nor all the wasteful spending that goes into a bureaucratic behemoth such as Washington D.C.

    The question is, where do YOU want your money to go? To the military, and ongoing wars? Despite having the largest military in the WORLD, the United States spends an amount equal to the next closest 8 countries COMBINED.

    0053_defense-comparison-crop

    Is this really the best use of our money? Maybe you think so, but I don’t. I’d be fine if you decided to throw your all your tax dollars at the military. I’d like to choose where my money goes, and focus on taking care of many of the social problems we continue to experience.

    Are your tax dollars really in better hands with the government? Wouldn’t it be nice to see the connection of YOUR actual dollars to the BENEFITS you’re meant to receive?

    Instead of having a disengaged populace, don’t you think the level of awareness regarding local problems/solutions would raise in communities with tax spending in the hands of people? Perhaps political corruption would cease as a result.

    I don’t have any answers, just a bunch of questions.

    With a little imagination, innovation, and “conscious taxes”, I’m sure we can do much, much better even if it’s in 2036. I hope much sooner.

    Perhaps one day we can log-in to the Conscious Tax App, and start directing the future of our communities and country.

    I can dream.

    Paul