Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Master Plan: Taxes & Obama Care

OK so normally I detest politics.  Mostly because they stress me out to no end and the deeper I search for understanding the less I like what I see.  Therefore it's not too much of a stretch on the imagination to see why I generally regard it as pointless and stupid, as nothing really gets done in politics anyway.  Now I could go on and on ranting about how Obama is the devil incarnate yada yada yada, but that’s not the point of this post, and arguing about that won't get us anywhere.  So, on with the Master Plan.  While talking with one of my friends earlier this evening I had two poignant realizations:
1. I want to be able to choose where my tax money goes.
2. The only way I’d be on board with Obama Care is if that meant some kind of Health Savings Account rather than feeding another behemoth of a government machine.
To address the first point, and further explain myself I would like to say, aside from the fact that common sense says you shouldn’t spend more than you have that any good business person worth their salt is going to want to know where their money is going and exercise some control as far as that is concerned.  Also, addressing that bit about spending more than you have, the only time that that isn’t true is when you can convince someone that you are a worth while investment.
Back to the point.  Like any good consumer on a budget, I like to know where my money is going and where it will do the most good.  I think this is what pisses me off most about taxes.  Not only is it 30% of my income right off the top, but I have no clue what this is REALLY paying for.  Now as a relatively frugal shopper I don’t think it’s necessary for my money to fund pink priuses for zebra cats (I know that’s not a real thing, Heaven help us if it is, I’m just trying to make a point of how such specific special interest spending can be wasteful).  That being said, it has been my idea for a while now that we as individual citizens of the United States should be allowed to have a more direct influence on how our tax dollars are spent.  For example, I firmly believe that two major government institutions that are worth funding are the military and education because those are core values that I hold dear, specifically my FREEDOM, and the right of every person to be educated so long as they have the desire.  If we were allowed to decide how our 30% were allocated I would feel less like the victim of a stick up and more like a  proactive  piece in the building, developing, and maintenance of our nation.
Now I am aware and fully understand that there are special interest groups that genuinely need assistance from time to time, but usually show up as pork in otherwise simple bills, and laws.  My solution for these is simply to put them up as options to which we are allowed to allocate as we see fit.  Check a box and enter in a number (of course this would all be done electronically).  Now before anyone goes off about how this is unfair and how their special interest group would suffer from a lack of funding, allow me to illustrate the power of pork, by sharing some simple math. First looking at the employable US population, roughly 155.1 million (according to wikipedia). Then we look at the federal minimum wage $7.25 even if people contributed 1% over the course of a year, roughly $145 after one year, (correct me if I'm wrong here) that would amount to $22,489,500,000. And that is based on the assumption that all of the employable population is making minimum wage, which common sense tells us isn't the case (see Donald Trump, Bill Gates, or any professional athlete, movie star, or corporate officer). Remind me again why we have a deficit? (Can anyone say gross mismanagement of funds? If this person were a CFO, I think it would be safe to say they would be fired).
To cite a small example, the beekeepers who needed help with their bees when they were effected by mites and weren’t returning to the hives.  Not everyone would find that important, but I know that there is a constituency who would be more than happy to allocate an amount of their tax money to that special interest group, given the opportunity.  Even if it were 1% of that 1% this special interest group of beekeepers would have $224,895,000 at their disposal.  Now tell me that they can't do something to help their cause with that amount of money.  I feel that this method of soliciting money would be more effective in the long run for two reasons.  First people would be more satisfied because they have the freedom to choose where their money is going.  Two I feel it would foster a greater sense of community awareness and civic duty.
How many people go around truly uneducated about some of the problems that we as a nation face?  Yes, I know that some people genuinely don’t want to be bothered because they are busy enough, but that would also be an option, to let their money be pooled for a cause that may arise to which they truly feel moved to contribute or simply let it be dispersed equally across the special interest groups that month. 
People educating themselves about the issues and allowed to have a more proactive role in government spending…interesting.  I’m sure this all seems a little idealistic and pie-eyed, but I think it would definitely be something worth looking into.  Oh, and this includes social security.  The mandatory percentage that they take would be set aside for government spending and allocated as we the citizens, or consumers as it were, choose within the provided options that is.  As for social security, we should have something better in place such as government 401K’s  where you’re investing in your future, not just laying out money you’ll never see again. 
At the crux of this whole idea, I’ve come to realize is the notion that you are giving people a reason to invest their time and money in their country as well as a chance to learn and know for themselves.
Now on to the second bit about the whole Obama Care.  The fact that I feel that this a huge pie-eyed step into a giant cow pie is something else entirely, but I feel like this is a punishment for someone such as myself, a poor student who rarely goes to the doctor unless it is a catastrophic event.  To be fair I regularly see a chiropractor (once every two weeks or so), the dentist (three times per year for personal reasons), and eye doctor (annual prescription renewal).  I am totally ok with paying out of pocket for these visits.  Growing up in a house that didn’t have insurance that is what I am used to, which is why I would be ok with all this if it meant that the money paid to this “Government health care plan” translated to a personal Health Savings Account from which I could draw, the same as an ATM or Debit card.  I understand that there are cases every now and then which would warrant a more standard type of insurance (i.e. cancer or some other terminal or chronic illness).  For people who are worried about contracting this I would suggest two different options.
1. Health Savings Account style “insurance” with a minimum requirement of $1/month or something to that effect.
2. Traditional Insurance which would provide coverage for those types of catastrophic events.
Lastly as a side note and nod to the whole public awareness and voting thing, I would love it if the public could see just how much these politicians are getting paid and vote on how much these government officials should be paid.  A simple vote across the board on whether or not they should be paid according to their state or territory’s minimum wage laws.  Or if the populace requests salary over hourly wage, we vote on the pay grade they should fall within and then run an average based on how many votes they got per grade.  I know. Talk about convoluted, but that seems to be what these people are into…so let’s speak to them on their level.