Whenever you see someone calling for raising taxes on anyone, be sure to notify them that nothing is preventing them from mailing the U.S. Treasury a check. In fact, last year the Treasury received $2.7 million in voluntary donations. Given that there are roughly 325 million Americans, you could say that for the average person, the government literally isn’t worth their two cents.Norway became the latest country to allow their citizens to “donate” their hard earned cash to the government, and as one of the most heavily taxed nations in the world (with a tax burden equaling roughly 45 percent of GDP– almost 4 times that of Hong Kong and nearly twice what we pay in the U.S.), it hasn’t worked out all too well there either.
According to the Economic Policy Journal, launched in June, the initiative has received a lukewarm reception, with the equivalent of just $1,325 in extra revenue being collected so far, according to the Finance Ministry. That’s not much for a country of 5.3 million people, many of whom are already accustomed to paying some of the highest taxes in the world (the top rate of income tax is 46.7 percent).
“The tax scheme was set up to allow those who want to pay more taxes to do so in a simple and straightforward way,” Finance Minister Siv Jensen said in an emailed comment. “If anyone thinks the tax level is too low, they now have the chance to pay more.”
That means divided across all Americans and Norwegians, the average American pays $0.008 in voluntary tax, verses $0.00025 in Norway.
As you’d expect from a nation where the average person pays half their income in taxes, there wasn’t much enthusiasm to pay any more.It raises an interesting point. While Americans give hundreds of billions to charity each year ($373 billion in 2015), the relative amount donated to our own government is a fraction of pennies on the dollar. It’s incredible how much backlash there is when any obscure government program’s funding is at risk, given how little enthusiasm there is to actually pay for these programs.
It seems like there’s plenty of charitable dollars going around to fund causes that people actually deem worthy, however.