Running Government

How would switching from a Representative Democracy to a Direct Democracy work?  We might keep Representatives, Senators,  and other elected officials  in office, but grant them almost no power, insofar as they would only play the roles of bill sponsors, debaters, advisors, administrators and diplomats.  Each representative would be bound to votes on each bill…

Role of Government

A major point of disagreement among citizens in the USA is the degree to which government should be  involved in people’s lives. Should government try to control the economy?  Some want free markets.  Others want government regulations, but in the absence of a direct democracy, the most powerful people end up making the regulations. Some…

Funding Government

What is the best way to fund government? Today most funding is provided through the Federal income tax, but this tax is not the only option, and it may not be the most efficient option.   According to Budget Director Mick Mulvaney in 2017, “The top 20 percent, pay 95 percent of the taxes.” This means…

End the Federal Reserve

In 1913, the U.S. Treasury gave our country’s sovereign right to create currency to the Federal Reserve Bank (which is essentially a private commercial entity with little to no oversight from the government). Prior to 1913, the Federal government had created money itself. These were called Greenbacks. The value of a Greenback fell dramatically during…

Voluntarism

A civilized society is concerned with the health and safety of others and takes care of those who cannot take care of themselves, but a civilized society does not force individuals to participate in society.  According to the principle of voluntarism, a government should not, for example, force an individual to buy health insurance, nor…

Universal Basic Income

Many politicians and mainstream news outlets are telling us that our modern digital and post-industrial economy has reduced or transformed whole classes of jobs. With online shopping, retail sales jobs are disappearing; robots are replacing factory workers, and industrial farming has replaced field laborers. In response, some countries, such as Finland and Netherlands, are testing…

Public Banking

A public bank is essentially a nonprofit organization, owned by a local, state or federal government that manages its own checking/savings accounts, accepts deposits and makes loans. The Bank of North Dakota, which has been in operation since 1919 with great success, deposits all tax and fee revenue in the state bank and uses it…

Free Market

Some of the most well known free market philosophers are  Adam Smith,  F. A. Hayek, and Milton Friedman.  Proponents of free markets believe that individuals (should) make their own decisions about what to buy and where to work.  When this freedom/right is exercised, the market responds to supply and demand by valuing goods and labor…

Protection for Minorities

In a Direct Democracy the majority vote might be opposed to the minority vote, and the majority is not always right.  The majority might vote for racist policies or wars of aggression or legislation that goes against the moral view of a minority.  How does a Direct Democracy protect the minority? A Direct Democracy which…

Simplify Legislation

The “One Subject at a Time” Act currently before Congress and the Senate proposes legislation that would be needed for an effective Direct Democracy. Each bill or joint resolution would be required to have a short title that clearly describes the subject (no legislation could be called something vague, such as the “Patriot Act”).  Under…

Mob rule

The votes of an uninformed majority are more likely to overwhelm the votes of  better informed voters in a system in which people vote for politicians/parties, not actual legislation. Currently, we give over the power to make decisions to leaders who are often elected on the basis of name recognition alone, or party affiliation alone,…

Land & Finite Resources Tax

Unlike the value that people create themselves through labor and investment, land and other natural resources (e.g., minerals, old growth forests, airspace, water, fossil fuels) are in some sense owned by all current and future residents of a community. Some argue that these finite natural resources should be taxed, while leaving the capital improvements (buildings,…

Separation of Business and State

Corporate leaders become politicians; politicians become corporate leaders. Weapons contractors lobby politicians for more war. Prison contractors lobby for tougher sentencing.  Private intelligence companies advise the State Department on foreign policy, policy which in turn benefits the intelligence companies. The Central Intelligence Agency hires Amazon to store sensitive information in its cloud. The largest corporations…

Campaign Financing

Should the U.S. follow the example of several other countries and make paid  campaign ads on TV Illegal?  What about spending any money at all on a campaign, referendum, or lobbyist? How would democracy fare if there were no campaign donations, no paid advertising, no paid campaign staff or paid petition gatherers? Only volunteers? Or…

Online Voting

Online elections would make it very convenient for people to participate in a Direct Democracy. However, given that election fraud is more likely to occur with electronic voting, especially with machines made by Diebold and ES&S, there is room for concern that online votes can also be hacked. Both election fraud and voter fraud might…

Ranked voting

Most developed nations have multiple political parties, not just two. Protecting voters against the “wasted third-party vote” syndrome could be accomplished with ranked voting or alternative voting. With ranked choice voting, if your first choice doesn’t win, your vote goes to your second choice; if your second choice doesn’t win, your vote goes to your…

Anti-Monopoly Laws

Anti-Trust Laws were conceived to break up big monopolies in order to allow fair competition between similar companies and guarantee consumers fair prices and quality products.   This assumes that competition leads to best practices and encourages innovation. Some claim that anti-trust laws are used mainly by smaller businesses suing larger more competitive businesses, in…

Trade Tariffs

When the USA was first formed, income from trade tariffs provided 95% of the funds needed to run government. By the 1915, only 30% of the Federal budget was provided through trade tariffs, and currently only  about 1% of the Federal budget is provided by tariffs. Advocates of trade tariffs say they tend to encourage…

Utilities

Utility companies provide electricity, cable Internet, cell service and natural gas. The free market may be less capable of providing utilities because generally only one utility company can operate in each area, and/or because governments often regulate or subsidize the construction of lines and access, and this benefit should not go to any private corporation. …

Hospital and emergency care

No civilized society allows people to die just because they don’t have money for medical care. The United States is the only developed country without a universal health care system and where medical bankruptcy is a problem. Even people covered by insurance may suffer bankruptcy when insurance covers only 80% of care that runs into…

Public Education

When public education was established in the U.S. back in the 19th century, cost efficiency was undoubtedly a primary concern and a main motivating factor. A dozen children could be educated by a single well-qualified teacher for far less than the cost of hiring a private tutor for each family. Today the average cost of…

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Some are against Direct Democracy because they fear that poor people, who outnumber the rich, will vote for more government welfare services for themselves and higher taxes for the rich. Taxes Funding for government activities does not have to be provided by an income tax and was not provided by income tax before 1913. Directly…

Privacy

The Library Bill of Rights affirms the “ethical imperative to provide unrestricted access to information and to guard against impediments to open inquiry. When users recognize or fear that their privacy or confidentiality is compromised, true freedom of inquiry no longer exists.” In a library (physical or virtual), the right to privacy is the right…

Military – Defense

The United States Department of Defense reports spending about $600 billion per year, which is more than one third of total military spending of all countries on the globe. The next biggest spender after the U.S. is China at about $200 billion per year.  A military defense system against foreign invasion is an obvious service…

Tax on Wall Street

According to Prospect.org, instituting a Financial Speculation Tax could rein in some of the worst excesses of financial markets that too often operate like casinos. By increasing the costs of placing trades, the tax would moderate trading activity generally, but it would most strongly deter short-term trades rather than longer-term investments. Importantly, for example, an…