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…

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…

Examples of Direct Democracy

In Iceland, the Pirate Party’s core policies include direct democracy, transparency, civil rights, the right to self-determination, public access to information and responsible decision making. The core policy text forms the basis for all policymaking. The online voting system is the primary method through which Pirates settle disputes and reach consensus on policies. In the United States,…

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….

Exemptions for Charitable Donations

The practice of allowing exemptions for charitable donations can encourage  wealthy people to fund public projects such as museums, universities, libraries, parks, and other public buildings.  Currently, tax payers can deduct 50% of charitable donations from income, to avoid paying income tax on that amount. A tax-payer who pays roughly 40% on the top tier…

Reduce the Number of Bills

In 2015, Congress voted on about 600 bills.  Perhaps not all these bills deserve public attention, if even the attention of Congress. For example, Congress voted on whether or not to rename a post office in Staten Island, New York.  Could decisions like this be made by the Post Office?  or by the people in…

Corporate Tax

U.S. federal and state governments have imposed one of the world’s highest corporate tax rates. High tax and strict regulations are often too costly for small- and medium-sized businesses, and many corporations merge to reduce costs and make management more efficient. But this results in a greater concentration of power and wealth among the few….

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?

Correlating Taxation and Voting

Direct Democracy cannot work if citizens are allowed to vote the country into deeper debt. What if all approved programs and services had to be correlated with a source of funding? Public works might be paid for by fiat money, as well as partially supported by workfare.  Tariffs might pay for basic government operations. Hospital…

Free Press

A true democracy depends upon an availability of information and diversity of viewpoints. When virtually all information sources–television, radio, newspapers, magazines, book publishing, movie production–are owned by a few corporations, there is little opportunity for diversity, dissent, or criticism of the corporations or the political group they may favor.  Censorship may occur for a variety…

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…

Inheritance Tax

Since wealth has a natural tendency to accumulate (the richer get richer; the poor get poorer), inheritance tax is seen as a way of slowing the inevitable increase of economic disparity. Critics of such wealth redistribution strategies claim it merely transfers the power of the wealth from the person who acquired it to the government….

Consumption Tax

Taxing products such as alcohol, tobacco, junk food, recreational drugs, fossil fuels, and fossil fuel by-products–many of the products that contribute to poor health–could be  a way of funding  public health services. A consumption tax is  voluntary tax if citizens can choose not to buy inessential items.   Advocates of the consumption tax say that taxing…

Income Tax on Wages

In 1913,  the 16th Amendment was passed, giving the government the right to collect income tax in order to begin paying service fees to the Federal Reserve, which had just taken control of creating U.S. currency from the U.S. Treasury.  According to some, the 16th Amendment was directed only at capital gains income and was…

Interest Income Tax

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was passed giving power to the government to tax capital gains and interest income.  According to some, the law was never intended to tax labor (wages or salaries), which at the time were considered an equal exchange of goods/services akin to bartering and were not considered “profit”…

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…