By the end of the fair, 302 fairgoers had participated. Their ideas of how the government should spend our tax dollars were very different from how the National Priorities Project (NPP), a nonpartisan think tank, says the government in fact now allocates its discretionary monies. Fairgoers voted to spend 18.4% of the money the IRS collects on health care, and 17% on education. Environmental protection came in third at 15.1% (we now spend only 3% on natural resources and the environment.)
It was quite apparent that the fairgoer-voters want to increase what the government now spends on other categories as well raising job training funding to 5.5% and housing to 5.7% (whereas education, training, employment, and all social services now only total 6% of discretionary spending.)
In one area these Bucks citizens reduced what the government now spends on social services: in their allocation, income security (which includes what we call welfare) declined from the current 5% to only 3.7%.
“It was really interesting seeing the debates going on within families about how to apportion the money,” comments one Coalition for Peace Action staffer. “The teenagers really pressed their parents to up their allocation for environmental protection.”