You should be able to decide which charitable causes to donate your money to, or if you want to donate at all. However, it may be that in the interest of altruism, we must force everyone, through government taxes, to support the unfortunate, or avoidable suffering would ensue.
The government system for this in place in the USA right now though is extremely inefficient, and may contribute to causes that some people don't like, while ignoring some that some people think to be of vital importance. This is a problem.
The charitable tax choice program.
This program would replace medicare, welfare, medicaid, and other government charity projects.
(A separate sub-program of it would privatize social security, making paying into the program optional, and making it behave far more like individual savings accounts.) When you file your taxes, instead of getting no choice where this large portion of your money goes, you'd be given a choice. An additional section of the tax form would include choices from a very wide selection of charities. All the money that you would have paid into the programs being replaced will instead be given to a charity of your choice on the approved list. In order to be on this list of charities, a charity must do real, honest work for society. Examples of approved and disapproved charities, just examples and by no means all-inclusive:
-Feeding the homeless
-Prevention of child abuse/molestation
-Drug rehab programs
-Medical care to the needy
-Habitat for humanity
-Medical research for fighting AIDS
-Civil war museum
-Catholic church (though specific programs run by a religious organization, such as a Catholic church-run homeless shelter, may be approved)
-Projects too small to notice, and which may just be fronts to allow people to donate to themselves
-Advancement of the arts
-Projects or organizations with low efficiency, ones that provide little benefit while drawing lots of funds
Since publishing this list of charities to every taxpayer would not be cost-efficient, you would have several ways of finding the charity you want, and the code number associated with it that you need to fill out into the form:
-Up-to-date books in every public library, post office, and courthouse.
-By phone, calling an automated number
-Online, at a specific government website.
-On TV, when specific charities advertise, and give their tax codes so people know how to give to them.
When filling out this form, you can specify more than one charity, and your amount will be evenly split among the ones you pick. (up to 5 choices to begin with, and another 5 for every $1000 you pay in taxes, to avoid government waste by processing $.25 donations to 1000 charities.) You can also just ignore that section of the form and choose no charities: in that case, your allotted money would be donated to charities that are direct (privatized) successors of our current day welfare, medicare, et cetera.
Objectives of this program:
1- Eliminate wasteful government inefficiency in charity programs, saving billions every year, while increasing the amount of good, charitable work done.
2- Eliminate government bureaucracy from charity, making the contact that these charities have, both with donators and with recipients of the charity, much more friendly and personal.
3- Give taxpayers, both as individuals and as a group, a choice of where their money goes, meaning that the money will be distributed perfectly along the lines of how many people think a given charity deserves money. Being careful in naming the list of approved charities will prevent the privileged from ignoring the needy.
This is part 1 of my Ideal Government for America series.
The series will continue on an as-I-have-spare-time basis until I run out of topics to talk about, and then they will all be consolidated into one, concise vision for the ideal government of the USA, after assimilating comments and advice given from Frihosters, of course.
I could not find an option to vote for.
I don't see why charity programs should be Federal. Why not give lump sums to the States so that the States would manage their own charity programs? Medical research could probably be Federal, but all of the rest would be so much better if they were administrated by the States. For example, compare homeless in California with that of Utah, and there would be a complete imbalance between the two. Perhaps they can calculate the percentage charity funds to States as a percentage of the taxes that have been generated by the States?
Sounds like a good plan for the most part, however there are some things that I don't like/agree with.
I wouldn't put drug rehab on that list, as I feel that drugs should be legalized, and that money received from selling drugs should be spent on rehabilitation instead of tax money.
I don't think that medical research should target any one thing specifically, although AIDS is a good cause.
There would need to be a really good system in place to judge what sort of things have little benefit, as many things we commonly use today derive from things that had little to no practical benefit when they were developed.
I do agree with taking the power to control our money away from the government.
I know that you agree with a flat tax rate, would you impose that here? or would you use another system?
Well, specific targets prevent taxpayer money going into research for the next acid reflux, anti-allergy, or male impotence drug.
Yes, I would impose the flat-rate tax in combination with this plan, though that will be a separate issue.
Very true, although I think that the medical research list should include several projects to donate to in the very least.
Oh, of course!
The list I made up is not comprehensive at all; the real list would have hundreds, if not thousands of choices. Included would be medical research for all kinds of diseases and disorders... at least all the kinds that can kill or cripple people.
If the money just goes into one fund for medical research though, the corrupt will use it almost exclusively for what makes the highest profits, not what gives the most benefit.
(Oh, and government funding for medical research will probably be yet another topic for one of these...)
I totally agree that all charities are not created equal and should not be treated as such!
It pissed me off that there are so many art grants that are taken for granted by artists who produce any crap. If any money is given to the arts it should be given to community associations, so art can be created that will benefit all, and not an elitist group of art lovers.
I'd also add athletics to your list.
For community programs that have a goal of making people more active, sure.
That would be a very good alternative to medical research; working out a little would help the health of the population far more than nearly any medical research (or free medical care) possibly could.