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Only 18 per cent of prospective voters think the government is heading in the right direction, according to a recent Rasmussen poll.But unlike customers who stop shopping at stores they don’t support, taxpayers can’t express the same displeasure with the government by not paying their taxes, writes Bill Bischoff on SmartMoney.
Automatic payroll tax withholding was instituted in 1943 to fund World War II and has since become an easy way for the government to collect taxes without Americans noticing.
Although taxes make up a far larger percentage of paychecks than they did 68 years ago, it’s easier to acquire money when individuals don’t have to write a check.
To hold the government more accountable for its actions, Bischoff suggests citizens pay their federal taxes, like Social Security and Medicare, the same way corporations and the self-employed do: in increments.
Bischoff’s plan calls for consumers to pay taxes in four installments, with the option to delay payment as late as October 15 of the following year.
If a taxpayer likes how the federal government works, they can choose to pay the bills in quarterly installments. If not, he or she can delay forking over the money until October.
This approach wouldn’t change tax policy per se, but it would give citizens some leverage, especially in decisions that nobody likes.
It might also force lawmakers to analyse how much they want to maintain expensive entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare.