The Taxpayers’ Receipt

Today the White House has unveiled a nifty new web feature where you enter how much tax you’re paying and you get a taxpayer’s receipt explaining what the money goes to. In an ideal world, this would actually be done automatically by the Internal Revenue Service when you pay your taxes (like a real receipt, you know) but perhaps you’d need new legislation to get that done, so just using the Executive Office of the President budget to do it online is smart.

This is an idea, incidentally, that comes from Ethan Porter’s article on the subject in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas the publication that also brought us Elizabeth Warren’s notion that we ought to have a Financial Product Safety Commission, now known as the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. It’s a pretty impressive record, and a small sign of the importance of institution-building at all levels. Perhaps I should mention that they recently published my article on the Fed.