As an economist I've often thought of how we can express our wishes as a republic in such a way as for them not to be watered down by the time they get to the top as is the case with our current political system of primaries and delegates and super-delegates and state conventions and national conventions and the like. How can we actually vote and be sure that our vote matters thus giving people the incentive to vote in the first place? How can the wishes of the people really be carried out?
My first thoughts in this day and age of high-speed technology are to allow the people to vote directly on issues that in the past were left to congress. Why couldn't we vote online, for example, rather than letting our untrustoworthy representatives vote? Why couldn't people sitting at their computer's simply go to the "Congressional Bill's" page everyday and vote on the issues? How simple and easy is that?
In this day and age it is possible for the people to actually speak and be heard across the country on a daily basis.
This would take all the special interest influence out of the political process. The will of the people would rule, not a corrupt government. The government itself would be cut down to constitutional size and allowed to operate only within those parameters.
Of course there are problems with technology and voting as the election in 2000 showed us and corrupt politicians can still affect the outcome of the vote or use the law maliciously to their advantage.
Then another idea came to mind: why not let people vote with their pocket books? The problem I keep hearing is that the government wants to spend money. They get the money either from the Fed or by raising taxes or borrowing it.
It certain circumstances legislation could be inacted simply by seeing if they have to money for it or not. In other words: congress wants to pass a bill for an education program and they estimate it will cost $20 million dollars next fiscal year. Tax payers who would like to vote in favor of this program and who would like to benefit from it are welcome to pledge money towards the program. Those who oppose pledge nothing AND are excluded from benefiting from it ( this of course would have to be possible ). Come time to implement the program, if congress has the cash they go ahead. If they don't they simply can't even if they want to.
This way citizens are not forced to pay for programs that they do not favor and do not benefit from. Taxes could be decreased by the amount of these programs allowing people who do not benefit from these programs to spend that money as they wish which is certainly more efficient than the gov. doing it for them.
This is a clear, efficient system of voting that takes the power out of the politicians hands wether they like it or not.
I'd like to hear from others on this.
doncooper:Of course there are problems with technology and voting as the election in 2000 showed us and corrupt politicians can still affect the outcome of the vote or use the law maliciously to their advantage.
The concerns about internet voting is not because it might be more prone to corruption. The concern is that employers, customers, family, the mafia or whatever might force you to vote a certain way. Or God forbids, people selling their vote. That's why the vote booths are individual and you don't get a receipt for your vote. You just have your word and so you can easily lie.
doncooper:Then another idea came to mind: why not let people vote with their pocket books? The problem I keep hearing is that the government wants to spend money. They get the money either from the Fed or by raising taxes or borrowing it.
I think it's pretty clear that a lot of what government provides are not public goods and could be easily provided by private organizations. In fact, there used to exist Mutal Aid Societies which provided a safety net for their members. Like you pay for government, you'd pay part of your income to such an organization and you'd then get money when you got unemployed or whatever benefits they provide. They'd have an incentive to provide their services to young people that are still studying or otherwise not working yet, because they soon will (and it's unlikely they get sick or whatever in the meantime). There are some schemes to des-incentivate people from only joining when they need, leeching the system (contracts for a few years and other technics used by insurance companies).
I don't see why libraries, museums, zoos, stadiums and other stuff are considered public goods, so I think those should be replaced by either an user or subscription fee. They'd be more accountable and less wasteful. With regard to public goods, say scientific research, people should at least have some choice to what their money is going to, instead of having these labs lobbying politiceans.
Anyway, Milton Friedman has adovcated school vouchers for many, many years and education seems to be more and more centralized. Maybe when there's no money for social security and stuff, they look for stuff to cut... But it might be more realistic to expect the state to completely fall than the state shrinking. ;)
Equality before the law and material equality are not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time. -- F. A. Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty
You have an unrealistic fantasy that the bad guys would voluntarily give up their taxation power. If you had the ability to violently extort 50% of the productivity from the rest of the country, would you voluntarily relinquish it? How exactly do you plan on implementing your proposal?
The only solution is to completely boycott taxes as much as possible. You should also boycott the Federal Reserve and use sound money instead, as much as possible. This is called agorism.
I have my own blog at FSK's Guide to Reality. Let me know if you like it.
If they could find a way to solve the tyranny of the majority (maybe through a constitution with specific limits on the power of government, bill of rights, etc) then this whole interweb voting thing might work out.
Ha, I kid, I kid...
We've all seen how that turns out, postulating techinal solutions to the problems inherent in the State.