We don’t like sending money into a black hole.
This is what sometimes happens with various fundraising contributions and what seems to always happen with our income taxes.
We don’t know how our hard-earned money is being spent and, furthermore, may feel we have little-to-no input on the matter.
I recall a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) meeting some years ago that was rather contentious because many of us had no idea how the money we collectively raised was being spent. Not that anything covert was going on, we just didn’t know how the funds were being managed and, of course, when you don’t know, you may assume the worst. Communication is such a crucial part of life. But I digress…
If you want people to rally behind your cause, they have to know what the cause is and get engaged in it emotionally before they’re going to write any checks, no matter how nice the candles smell that you’re selling.
I came across this “tax receipt” provided by the government (what in the world did we do before Google?) which spells it out pretty nicely http://www.whitehouse.gov/2012-taxreceipt .
Looks like a lot is going towards national defense and job & family security programs, but there’s a lot going to “additional government programs” (I think this is like my budget sheet’s “miscellaneous” column) and I was surprized that, in our low interest rate environment, 8% of our income taxes go to pay interest on our national debt (a tangent for another day).
We still have very little control over our government’s tax system (aside from how we choose to vote & feedback to our representatives), so I don’t wish to dwell on that aspect, but we can control many other aspects of our lives that can reduce our income taxes such as charitable giving, saving for retirement and for our kids’ college education; ’cause there aren’t enough bake sales to cover that bill.