Happy Tax Day! Do you know where your tax dollars are going? No? Doesn't that seem a little ridiculous? What if you could tell the government exactly how to spend your hard-earned money? Now you can—even if it is hypothetically.
The New IRS is a project that lets you tell the U.S. how you'd like your tax dollars to be spent. Using an interactive tool on its website, you can create your "personal allocation plan," using color-coded sliders to adjust where you'd like your money to go. The site then compares your personal allocations with the way the U.S. actually plans to spend your tax money. Guess what that maroon color is?
After the site has collected lots of personal allocation plans, the folks behind it plan to release a report that shows how out of sync the wishes of Americans are with the actual spending plan for the country. WhiteHouse.gov has a nifty taxpayer "receipt" tool that shows you where your tax dollars will go, but it doesn't have any place for Americans to input their own thoughts about the expenditures. The New IRS hopes to bridge that gap.
The project was conceived by Alex Ebert, the singer for the band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (whose catchy 2010 hit "Home" may have appeared in more commercials than any other song in history), as part of a hackathon at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. “We present to you a simulation, that you may peruse and develop a taste for a new paradigm of citizen power," he said in a statement. “Through your participation, we will be able to collect national data that will serve to reflect our ethics as a nation, as well as to illuminate disparities between our will and the actual expenditures of the current political powers." And then he started whistling. Just kidding.
According to a release, this will be the first in a series of websites created by Ebert and his team that will "provide users a virtual, parallel world to experiment with new forms of government." The tool is fun to play with and since you already paid your taxes (RIGHT?) there's no better time to head over there and share your thoughts. [The New IRS]