Reducing Taxation by Recruiting Minor Criminals for the Military

Introduction

There are only two certain things in this world: death and taxes (Michiels, 2007). This reality is important that most governments consider in bringing growth and development. Taxes serve as the direct source of government income. Without the taxes, it will be difficult for the government to provide basic social services. In addition, taxes are used to jump-start an economy, which is commonly referred to as pump priming. The government also uses taxes to fund its functions. Government activities such as national defense and social justice are financed by taxes. Hence the need for efficient collection of taxes is a primary goal of the government.

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Despite its superpower status, the United States relied heavily on taxes. Among the countries in the world, the U.S. has one of the most complicated taxation systems. These schemes are well crafted to ensure that services are provided and government functions are maintained. The Internal Revenue Service is the main agency that collects the taxes. Technically, the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 revolves around two notions. It includes the notion of raising revenue and amendments related to the code. The taxes are generally used to achieve the government’s social, economic, and political goals.

Among the branches of the government, issues on defense are considered as one of the priorities. The military expenditure of the U.S. government is the highest in the world. In 2005, the U.S. government spent 8 times more than the military budget of China. The vast financial dedication of the U.S. government to its defense shows the importance of tax collection. Aside from the budget for the military, the government also spends on the felons. Federal prisoners are provided with food and other necessities. The funds for these purposes are taken from the tax collection.

The Importance of Taxation

The role of taxation in the government is as vital as the existing fundamentals. Taxes are the most vital source of government income. As discussed briefly, taxes are used to facilitate government activities (Internal Revenue Service, 2008). These activities have to be implemented to ensure that progress is realized. Aside from being the source of government income, taxes act as instruments of social equilibrium. Despite its high household income, a portion of the U.S. population has minimal resources. These families are deprived of the services that are enjoyed by the majority. To compensate for this necessity, the government uses the tax to cover the expenses.

Another important role of taxation is that it is a tool that promotes economic sustainability. To attract investments, the government has to do its part. It has to build infrastructures to improve transportations systems and transportation networks. The U.S. government has been spending much to improve its infrastructures. The government also needs to provide protection for the businesses. The government uses taxes to provide safety and better consumer awareness. Taxes are also important because emergency events require financial funding.

Moreover, the U.S. government can use taxes to provide employment to the population. The projects created by the government require sufficient manpower. In addition, the offices installed by the government also need employees (Piketty and Saez, 2007). It is important for the government to ensure that revenue flow is sustained. The resources that the government spends need to be replenished by the taxes coming from businesses and individuals. This cycle has to be maintained to ensure that the government becomes more effective in its functions.

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Military Expenditures

The budget allocated for the U.S. military is part of the discretionary federal budget. The budget is provided for the salaries, healthcare, training, and uniform of military men. In 2007, the budget for the military reached $493.3 billion. This amount, however, is exclusive of other expenses but still classified within the military bracket. Overall, the resources allocated for the Defense Department amounted to $626.1 billion. The U.S. military and its allies account for 66% of the world’s total military spending. The discretionary spending allocated to the government covers half of the total U.S. discretionary budget (Higgs, 2007).

The majority of expenses for the military are dedicated to maintenance and operations. The salaries for military personnel rank second in terms of allocation. Other expenses include procurement of supplies, research and development, constructions, housing, and capital funds. These are the most vital activities undertaken by the entire U.S. military. Excluded from these figures are used for the development of nuclear weapons. In addition, the government spends more than $170 billion for its war against Iraq and terrorism (Isenberg, 2007). This costly battle has been one of the many criticisms raised against the U.S. military.

It is undoubted that the U.S. government prioritizes military spending. Constant threats coming from abroad and within its domestic confines are prevalent. Moreover, the U.S. has to maintain its status as a military power. The responsibility of the U.S. military forces extends beyond its own interests. It has several military bases established in different regions. The U.S. also provides military aid to countries that lack the financial capabilities to withstand any form of military threat.

U.S. Prisons

The U.S. has one of the most advanced felony systems. It also houses the most prisoners in the world. As of 2006, there are 7 million individuals behind bars in the U.S. Based on 2002 figures, 93.2% of the prisoners are males. This figure shows its potential to serve as a partner for the U.S. military (Harrison and Beck, 2006). The number of prisoners is expected to rise. This means that the government needs to allocate more funds. Despite the huge budget, the government has been criticized for its lack of concern over prisoners. Records show that most prisoners are infected with several diseases. Prisons also become the breeding ground of gangs and other similar groups.

The U.S. government has been spending billions to maintain the prison system. In 2006, $2.6 billion was allocated to construct and operate prisons. The amount stated was three times bigger than what was spent by the government 15 years ago. Aside from the Federal government, states and cities also provide their share of the prison system. The opportunity cost in such activity is immense. Instead of using the funds for productive projects, the government spends on activities that produce minimal economic benefit. Moreover, the government has been increasing its budget for the non-economic purpose.

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To relieve the government from such cost, there were several alternatives introduced. One of the most prominent was the privatization of prisons. The government is expected to save more than half of its budget for the prison system. Private prisons are also expected to provide better care because of the paid services. Another viable alternative was the provision of jobs to prisoners while inside confinement. Menial jobs and other productive activities are introduced to prisoners. This will make the prisoners productive while incarcerated (Slevin, 2006).

The Cooperative Program

The rising budget of the military and prison system requires more tax collection. As a result, the burden is being passed to individuals and businesses. Before discussing the elements of the cooperative program, it is important to determine the necessity for such a project. It is hard for the government to sacrifice the welfare of one sector to protect another. The cooperative system is a win-win solution that allows the government more flexibility. The most important consideration that needs to be made has strong economic implications. The U.S. government can potentially save millions while maintaining its role to convicted citizens.

The cooperative program between the military and prison system is designed to lower the budget of both departments. In effect, the government will hesitate from creating more income-generating collections. But a legislature and not just a memorandum of agreement initiate it. There are several legal concepts that need to be emphasized to ensure that the cooperative program exists within the limitations of the constitutions. The government has to identify the specific clauses that will make it appears beneficial to the population.

The cooperative program can be considered as a joint venture between the agency that takes care of prisoners and the department of defense. The goal is to limit the number of inmates in prisons by making these prisoners contributors to the government’s functions. Once an individual is found guilty of a minor crime, the judge will be tasked to review the individual’s capacity to act as a military man. Instead of the government spending for the necessities of the prisoners during their stay, there will be a one-time process that will determine their willingness to serve the country.

There are several limitations that need to be highlighted to ensure that the program works. Only prisoners with light offenses will be asked to undergo the screening process. Individuals charged with heinous crimes are exempted from this privilege. The judge handling the case will determine an individual’s capacity to serve. The government will also provide medical testing for the prisoners. Doctors will check the prisoners’ physical attributes and psychologists will examine the inmates’ state of mind. It is important to note that only the prisoners who will pass the physical and psychological screening are allowed to move on.

The U.S. military ensures that its men are well compensated. The situation with the prisoners, however, provides different dynamics. Technically, these inmates are deprived of freedom and the ability to earn. But the military is providing these individuals an opportunity to become productive. The military, on the other hand, has to limit the generous remunerations provided to its soldiers. The defense department will follow the provision of basic salary without the lucrative benefits. The money will directly go to the prisoners’ families. In the event that an inmate has not identified a beneficiary, the prisoner has to channel the salaries to a charitable institution.

Aside from the physical conditions, there are certain aspects that need to be considered before an inmate is admitted to the military. Age is a primary factor as it is equated to physical capacity. Only prisoners above 18 and below 30 will be considered for the program. It is best for the military to focus on the male prisoners and leave female inmates as discretionary. Another important consideration that has to be made is the permission of the prisoners’ families. This is a sensitive issue that must be resolved. The court and the military will properly hear the family that disagrees with the idea.

There are several benefits that can be attributed to this program. The most evident of course is savings for the government. Although there are no specific targets, it is expected that millions of dollars will be saved from this initiative. One of the major costs incurred by the U.S. military is recruitment. From the advertising to the training, the military shed billions to beef its workforce. Through this project, the military can just directly go to prisons and do the recruitment. The prisons will also be spared from spending for the needs of the inmates. It can just focus on a certain percentage of prisoners who have committed heinous crimes.

Prisons are established to reform law violators. But some prisoners when freed are no guarantees. There is also a psychological impact on individuals who will be excluded from society. The cooperative program serves as a positive reinforcement to the inmates. Instead of feeling neglected, these prisoners will be boosted because of their participation in a grand cause. Most citizens believe that providing for the needs of the prisoners is more of a reward than punishment. By promoting the cooperative program, the prisoners will have an opportunity to earn people’s respect. The program is good preparation before going back to the real world.

It is a mandate of the U.S. government to spend every cent efficiently. This unwritten rule is what guides most agencies. Perhaps this notion needs to be applied to the prisons systems. It is uneconomic for the government to spend a portion of its budget on prisoners who do nothing. These inmates basically wait for years until their punishment is served. Through the cooperative project, the prisoners will become contributors to society. Their potential role as military men can provide both domestic and international safety.

Impact on Taxation

Tax collection is one of the most pressing issues that the U.S. government faces. It has been hurled with criticisms over the unnecessary collections of taxes. The cooperation project between the military and the prison system seeks to ease the tax burden carried by the citizens. The savings of the government can be channeled to other services (Adams, 1985). In particular, important necessities such as healthcare can be boosted. The excess funds from the prisons can serve as its surplus for future operations. This means that the budget to be allocated to the prison system will be lessened. The same also applies to the Department of Defense.

The government can also lessen the tax collected on individuals and businesses. This proposal will indeed gain huge support. Most workers consider tax as a burden instead of an obligation. Enterprises also consider tax as a major expense. The high tax rate of businesses is one of the barriers that keep industries from expanding. Because of the low collection, individuals will have more income to dispense. At the current economic condition of the U.S., consumer spending is critical. Reducing the taxes mean that households have more income to use and prices of commodities will likely decline.

Aside from using the funds for other purposes, the government can just keep the savings as a surplus. This excess money supply can be used during emergency occurrences. Since the government has some contingency funds, the savings can serve as a major enhancement (President Advisory Panel, 1985). This can be used for calamity funds and other similar events. At least the government will have easy access to resources when such circumstances occur. It is important for the government to be prepared. Having that extra budget is a good start for the government to become more efficient.

The Possible Drawbacks

There are several problems that will arise in the event that this program will push through. Issues on legality will be raised. These prisoners are law violators and need to be punished. But the program actually provides rewards to inmates. Instead of being confined, prisoners are provided with temporary freedom. Being in the military allows the inmates to have access to the outside world. Crime groups will be the first to protest against this project. In addition, the individuals who were offended by these prisoners will also be critical to the program. Legal battles between the government and these groups can potentially leave the program hanging.

Another important consideration that needs to be made is the nature of these criminals. Most of these are multiple offenders. Hence the possibility of these individuals committing a crime while in the military is high. When these criminals are provided with guns, there is a chance of the worst crimes to occur. This is a risk that the government needs to evaluate. Unlike the traditional military men, the attitude of these prisoners is questionable. This hole can potentially lead to the failure of the project. If this program will backfire, then the government will get the ire of the citizens.

Military service is an honorable task. Most of the men who wore the U.S. military uniform have decorated careers (Naim, 2007). There is a possibility that current military personnel will ditch the idea. Combining men with questionable character in the military is doubtful. There is a possibility that the dynamics of the military will be affected. Instead of being effective, the military can potentially become a dysfunctional corps. This is the last event that the government wants to happen. The U.S. defense is a priority that problems like this need to be terminated.

Conclusion

The U.S. government is in a current dilemma. There is a need to collect more tax to supports its core functions. But such activity has become a burden to households and industries. Among the mandates performed by the government, spending for prisoners appears to be one of the least productive. The government allocates billions of its resources to house and feed violators of the law. This is happening at the expense of the taxpayers. On the other hand, the government has spent much of the discretionary budget for the military. Wars in different areas have caused billions to be stashed from the budget. Hence it is only proper for the government to introduce projects such as cooperation between the prison system and the military.

The proposed justice and defense cooperation will potentially save millions. This development is important especially to taxpayers. The proceeds taken from this project can be provided to other more pressing needs. Instead of spending more to recruit military personnel, the government can hire prisoners to serve the country. An only a minimal amount of resources is required for this alternative. Most importantly, these inmates will become productive. The wage that is provided for the prisoners can improve the spending cycle of the economy.

But there are certain drawbacks that can be seen in this project. As expected, legal issues will come out. Crime groups and victims will come out to protest this move. In addition, the government is risking placing formers inmates in the military. The unpredictable nature of these prisoners and the license to carry guns is a recipe for disaster. Moreover, this program will provide a bad massage on crimes. Instead of punishing offenders, inmates are even rewarded with their inclusion in the military.

References

Adams, H.C., (1985), The Theory of Public Expenditures, American Economics Association.

Harrison, P. and Beck, A.J., (2006), Prisoners in 2005, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Higgs, R., (2007), “The trillion-dollar defense budget is already here,”. Web.

Isenberg, D., (2007), Budgeting Empire: The Effect of Iran and Afghanistan on Military Forces, Budgets and Plans.

Michiels, I., (2007), “Acronym ambiguity in the Marketing automation space,”. Web.

Naim, M., (2007), “ Megaplayers vs. Micropowers”. Web.

Piketty, T. and Saez, E., (2007), Journal of Economic Perspectives, “How progressive is US Federal tax system?”.

Slevin, P., (2006), “U.S. prison study faults system and the public,”. Web.

Internal Revenue Service, (2008), Income tax collection. Web.

President Advisory Panel, (2005), Federal Tax Reform, “America needs a better tax system,”.

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