You Can’t Take It With You

July 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Ballard High School Production of You Can't Take It With You

Ballard High School did the play “You Can’t Take It With You” in May. One of the characters, Grandpa Vanderhof (not my kid – my kid was the maid’s sharp-dressed boyfriend), has never paid any income tax, because he “doesn’t believe in it”.

The IRS quite naturally takes exception to this, and sends an agent out to see him. The agent tries to explain to Grandpa that he has to pay income tax, and this is the response he gets:

“Grandpa: Well, what do I get for my money? If I go into Macy’s and buy something, there it is-I see it. What’s the Government give me?

Henderson: Why, the Government gives you everything. It protects you.

Grandpa: What from?

Henderson: Well… invasion. Foreigners that might come over here and take everything
you’ve got.

Grandpa: Oh I don’t think they’re goin to do that.

Henderson: If you didn’t pay an income tax, they would. How do you think the
Government keeps up the Army and Navy? All those battleships…

Grandpa: Last time we used battleships was in the Spanish-American War, and what did
we get out of it? Cuba-and we gave it back. I wouldn’t mind paying if it were something

That got me to thinking – what if we could tell the government how we wanted our little share of the largesse spent? There are 46 pages worth of tax forms listed on the IRS website.

Surely there’s room for one more?

It could be quite simple -just mark the percentage you’d like to spend on each government department. Warhawks could send theirs to the DoD, and bleeding-hearts could support DHHS. Science geeks could choose research, and Farmville fans could go for the Department of Agriculture ; )

Wouldn’t be even more fun to pick the exact budget line items? If you could vote with your tax dollars to buy part of a F-35 Lightning, or a Mars Rover? Fund AIDS prevention in Africa, or art in the schools!

Most people file online, and online survey technology should be up to the task. Congress would never allow real decision-making power for anything like this, but I’d be curious to see what a taxpayer-chosen budget would look like.

One thing’s for sure – there wouldn’t be any money for the IRS!

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