Posted by: Debby Durkee | February 5, 2010

Taxpayers deserve annual report to shareholders.

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Taxpayers deserve annual report to shareholders.

This is a terrific column over at the American Thinker website by Carl Paulus. He believes that politicians should be held accountable to the taxpayers just as corporations are held accountable to the shareholders. Afterall, the United States government is, as Paulus notes, “the largest single financial entity in the world.” If politicians like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of big spenders on both sides of the aisle had to report to each individual taxpayer where each dollar of their taxes was going, Americans might be even more vocal and bigger watchdogs of the way government spends our taxes. Perhaps that way the out and out theft of Americans’ fortunes could be prevented long before it becomes a threat to the nation’s solvency.

…With President Obama submitting a budget that puts the nation 1.6 trillion dollars further in debt, it is time for conservatives to become engaged over how to slow our exploding deficit and help entrench fiscal responsibility within our governing system. Americans should receive an annual report to the shareholders from the federal government explaining how the taxes we pay are spent. 

…the federal government is also the largest single financial entity in the world. Abraham Lincoln aptly stated in the Gettysburg Address that our government is “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Through their tax dollars, Americans are stakeholders in this financial institution and are held liable for its financial risk. Our ownership should grant us more direct information about how the government does its business and how our investments are paying off.  Snip –

In the business world, the SEC requires publicly owned companies to disclose their financial data to their shareholders. Companies send a report directly to each stockholder on a yearly basis, regardless of how much equity in the company each person owns. CEOs must explain how and why they are spending their shareholders’ money. They also have to explain the bottom line, as well as the future outlook of the company’s finances. The federal government should be held to similar standards.

Our government should be required to send its own version of a stockholder’s report to everyone who pays taxes. If the people of the United States could see how their money is spent, politicians — like board members of a company reporting to their shareholders — might be less willing to pass legislation that spends our money with reckless abandon. If American taxpayers could see on an individual basis how their money is spent, they would be more vigilant in keeping congressional spending in line.  Snip –

The median household income in the United States according the United States Census Bureau was $50,303 in 2008. According to the IRS tax calculator, a family of four pays roughly $4,500 in federal taxes. How would most American families react to the knowledge that they pay around $360 just on interest for the federal debt? Would Americans be glad that they pay about $950 for defense and social security? 

Americans want fiscal responsibility. Democrats will find it difficult to oppose this small step towards a more open government…

Alone, this modest change in how our government reports its financial standing will not put us back onto the path of fiscal responsibility, but it is a start. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government … whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.” The best way to ensure that our elected officials stop spending money like it has no real consequences is to specifically show where our tax money is spent and make every taxpayer a watchdog of the federal deficit.

This is truly a brilliant idea. Perhaps this could become one of those items on the Tea Party’s “Contract from America.” Read it all here:


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  1. […] That should also apply to state and local governments. Since the American taxpayers are held liable for the debts created by those in the public sector, we deserve to know where each dollar is going. Americans are tired of being treated like a broken piggy bank. You can read this post here:… […]

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