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Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 03 2011

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) have introduced a bill under which the government will send each taxpayer a receipt showing how the taxpayer's income and payroll taxes were spent.  The spending will be "itemized" in broad categories, such as interest on debt, military, Social Security, Medicare, education, veteran's benefits, envrionmental protection, foreign aid and Congress.  The receipt would also show the taxpayer's share of the national debt.

It isn't clear how useful this data would be.  Will the allocation be based on last year's budget or the current year budget?  Would the national debt just be divided by the population or weighted for services provided to the particular taxpayer?  But some of the information might prove surprising.  For example, Americans tend to wildly overestimate the portion of the budget that goes to foreign aid.

Neither Mr. Brown nor Mr. Nelson suggested including the cost of the receipt on the receipt.

By the way, you can already find an analysis of the budget online, and Google and Eyebeam sponsor a contest for the best visual presentation of the federal budget. Which makes me wonder why the Senators want to spend the money on a printed receipt and postage!