How Should Our Government Spend Our Tax Dollars? Tell Ms. Gizmo

This Thursday, September 16 the Granny Peace Brigade took Ms. Gizmo to Brooklyn. For the fifth time she was out on the town and again, as always she was embraced with enthusiasm by people passing by.


What is it about Ms. Gizmo that makes her so very popular? After all physically she’s just a bunch of plastic tubes standing side by side in a couple of racks. Is it the labels on her tubes?

  • Arts & Culture,
  • Education,
  • Environment & Clean Energy,
  • Health Care,
  • Housing,
  • Jobs,
  • Military,
  • Transportation.

Or is it the question we ask? “How would you spend your own tax dollars?” We offer each passer by a plastic bag containing 20 pennies. People can drop these pennies into Ms. Gizmo’s tubes in any way they see fit. That’s it – 20 pennies and eight categories. Of the hundredsof people who have distributed pennies, not a single person has done this thoughtlessly. All have concentrated as they allocated these modest funds.


The key to Ms. Gizmo’s charm — New Yorkers want to be heard. Many of us are not pleased with the enormous amounts of money the U.S. spends on war, on the military. We see a crying need for increased spending on the other seven categories. Ms. Gizmo is a step towards giving us a voice. She helps to bring us together and start conversations. We’ll see where we can go from here.

– Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade

4 thoughts on “How Should Our Government Spend Our Tax Dollars? Tell Ms. Gizmo

  1. Do you think you get as many responses as you might if GPB offered only strips of paper with the same subjects listed & some space for comments. the gizmo is a time-consuming gadget for some people. I guess it’s as scientific as any “scienific” poll. All I want is to GET US OUT OF AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ & PAKISTAN. But I also want the pres. to stop tax benefits for the top 5% as of october 1, 2010. He can do it by executive order; he is the pres. isn’t he?


  2. Ms. Gizmo engages folks in an action…casting votes re: how they would like to see their tax monies spent. Yes, it might be considered time-consuming by some but, “engagement in action” and handing out the War Resister’s information on how tax monies are actually spent has greater potential for conversation, thinking, and future actions for those involved.

    My observation indicates that it is effective as a teaching devise for those who have never “connected the dots” between monies spent on military (including the current occupation/wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) and the decrease in monies for needed services of the U.S. population. Hence, if one views (on the GPB web page) the results of those engaging by voting their preferences regarding their tax monies, there is some evidence of a “connecting of the dots.” Discussion, together with engagement in activity and informational handouts may prove to contribute to a more well informed population!

    Let’s carry-on with Ms. Gizmo and ultimately, contribute to the goal of eradication of militarization of the U.S.! It is a huge goal but, we must work on many fronts!


  3. I know you hand out WRL info about how tax dollars are spent but have you considered making an accompanying (non-interactive) Gizmo reflecting the distribution of funds according to the WRL numbers? That would be pretty compelling to see.


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