New York Times, April 14, 2004.
Take a break as you fill out your 1040 form, and play this game: suppose you could choose which government entities your tax dollars support — and in what proportion. Since it’s a thought experiment, let’s assume that local and state government functions are part of the list. What percentages will you assign to which departments, agencies and programs?
Some people will split their taxes between the local police and national defense and leave it at that. Some will assign it all to the Environmental Protection Agency. Taxpayers from red states will choose differently from taxpayers from blue states. But polling data tells us enough about the government services people value to permit reasonably confident predictions about the national results.
New York Times