'The New IRS’ Lets You Pick How Your Tax Dollars Are Spent
Policy + Politics

'The New IRS’ Lets You Pick How Your Tax Dollars Are Spent


Now that you’ve filed your federal tax return — you’ve filed, right? The clock is ticking — you may be crossing another task off your To Do list, breathing a sigh of relief, or maybe dreaming up ways to spend a refund check. Chances are, though, that you aren’t giving much thought to just how the federal government will be spending all those tax dollars.

A website, TheNewIRS.com, wants you to think about that.

Related: 5 Surprising Things Americans Think About Taxes

The site allows people to use interactive and shareable infographics to pick the percentage of tax money that should be spent on 14 categories ranging from national defense, international affairs and immigration to health care, education and agriculture. The website also shows how your chosen tax allocations compare with how the federal government will actually spend what it collects. (The White House website also provides an interactive page that explains what tax money goes toward on a national level.)

Sure, Americans already have a say in how they want their tax money to be spent. It’s called voting. Critics, though, say current government spending does not truly represent the voters’ will.

“The system of representative democracy in this country is broken,” says The New IRS website. The “visionary” behind the project is Alex Ebert, a singer-songwriter who fronts an indie folk band.

“For many reasons, politicians have well-documented problems spending this money as their platforms promised they would,” Ebert writes on the site. “It is not always their fault. Often enough, established interests resist change. Regardless of fault, we are left with this: voting alone does not often create the realities we are promised.”

The goal of the website is to collect national data that will serve to shed light on any differences between what Americans want and the national expenditures of our representative democracy. TheNewIRS.com plans to release a detailed report of its findings on April 17.

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