Withholding power

Think about it. You earn money, but you never see it. You never touch it. You never earn interest on it. And you certainly never spend it. It goes directly to the government, and, while making the payment a little more “painless”, it feeds the notion that the money belonged to the government in the first place. Salaries become more theoretical than real, and the amount withheld becomes factored into your thinking. In other words, your take-home pay, for all practical purposes, becomes your salary.

Imagine, however, having to sit down once a week or once a month and write checks to the state and federal governments. There would be several immediate benefits. First, workers would have a greater sense of how much of their money is being spent, and they would almost certainly keep a closer eye on what their leaders were doing with these funds. Second, government would be forced overnight into having to be more accountable to taxpayers. No longer could officials hide behind withholding and pretend the money was theirs to begin with. And third, the money could be invested and spent in the private sector before having to be sent to the state capital or to Washington.