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…

Volunteer Support for Warfare and Welfare

Partisan groups are often divided over the issue of spending tax dollars on war and spending tax dollars on welfare. What if decisions about going to war, sending weapons, or funding police actions could be made by the people instead of Congress or the President? What if those who voted for war were expected to…

Regulations

Licenses and regulations are intended to prevent people from doing harm to others. Consumer protection regulations, many of which exist due to Ralph Nader efforts, have saved many lives. Critics of the practice say that this is preemptive justice, effectively punishing people (with economic harm) who have not committed any crime; instead, they claim, the…

Prison System

Enforcing laws created by the state (or, with a Direct Democracy, the people) is an indisputable, essential role of the state. How can this service be performed without creating a financial burden on the people? Critics of big government often point out that, without profit motivation, bureaucracies do a poor job of running programs efficiently….

Welfare for disabled persons, children, crime victims

Some believe that a healthy state takes care of individuals who, through no fault of their own, cannot take care of themselves. Does a state have the moral duty to care for disabled persons and children? What should the state provide?

Workfare for the poor

Assuming that providing welfare for children and the disabled is considered a separate issue, should the state provide welfare for those who cannot find work?  If so, under what conditions and for how long?  During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt  started a number of social welfare programs to keep citizens from losing their homes or…

Mass Transportation / Public Roadways

All citizens share the roadways and mass transportation systems.  Even those who do not use mass transportation can benefit from these services insofar as the systems increase property values by making commuting more efficient.  No individual can have access to such a system without a community or a corporation to provide it.  Since roadways and…

Immigration

The United States is a land of immigrants. Our rich cultural heritage is very much part of what makes us a great nation. Many immigrants currently working illegally in the U.S. provide cheap labor and this can adversely affect our economy.  It makes sense to provide a path for these people to get work visas…

Higher Education

The purpose of a higher education had, at one time, been viewed as a public good, to provide a well-rounded general education to citizens that included many humanities courses and as well as science or math. According to this view, state funded college and university research would benefit the public at large in terms of…