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What percentage of federal tax revenue should go to
healthcare, to other entitlements, to the military, and to the remainder of the federal government?
The management of our complex society’s myriad details
would, of course, need to be conducted in the other branches and levels of government. Nevertheless, the
could and should paint a broad stroke or two. This issue would give the demos direct control over the money provided for and, therefore, the size of selected areas of the federal government.
Exactly which federal government expenditure items or categories
to include in this demos issue is not carved in stone. The particular items
included here—the military, entitlements, health care, and the remainder of
the federal government— were included merely to show that the demos could manage direct control over the size of the budgets of, perhaps, a half dozen major areas of the federal government of the greatest interest and effect.
Since it is we and our loved ones who serve in the military, giving something of our lives or giving up our very lives, and since it is our tax dollars supporting the military,
we should all share direct control over the money provided for and, therefore, the size of the military. The
capability of shrinking or expanding the military
budget would insure that any major military adventure set upon by America
enjoyed the true will and support of the American people, not merely the will of a few
elites or the ‘will’ of the people as supposedly indicated by some
politician, pundit, or sham poll.
Since it is the American people’s tax money being handed out as entitlements, we should
have control over just how generous we wish to be. Although healthcare is a part
of entitlements, it is such a huge can of worms that concerns all of us that I
made it a separate item from other entitlements. (A brief discussion about how to handle the healthcare mess in
America will follow in a later chapter.)
Like one previous issue, this demos issue would
require a pie chart style display page and voter response. Insofar as the demos is to affect the total tax revenue
100% would have to be divided among up to a half dozen or so major areas of the federal government.
Within the parameters set by the demos, other branches of the federal government
would further determine the federal budget in great detail. Unlike the pie chart in a previous issue which had three pie slices, this
issue’s pie chart could possibly have more slices. Whatever the number of slices the pie chart ended up having, each slice would represent a major area of the federal
i.e., the military, healthcare, other entitlements, etc. There would be one more slice
labeled “Other” that would include all other federal expenditures not falling into any of the major areas specifically included
in the pie chart. Each of the slices of the pie would represent a certain
percentage of the whole; the percentages would add up to 100%; and the size of each pie slice would be proportionate in size to its percentage.
As with the previous issue using the pie chart
voter input method, the demos member would indicate for each pie slice whether
to increase, keep as is, or decrease the size of the slice (and, therefore, the
percentage portion of the whole represented by the slice) by changing the color of
each to green for “increase,” yellow for “keep it as is,” or red for “decrease.”
That the entire federal government may live within its means,
that is, within the limits of the funds provided by the demos via taxation, all
of its various branches, agencies, and activities would need to stay on budget.
Branches and agencies would need to set priorities and
not spend money they don’t have. The dispersal of money both to and within
various branches of government would have to function by a process similar to triage in
which the highest priority is given to those areas and projects producing the
greatest good. Government should not carry enormous debt but should
always function with significant savings. The handling of emergency situations
such as natural disasters should be funded from such savings. Entitlements
should be handed out not only on the basis of need but also on the basis of how
much money is available and how many people are going after it. Each applicant could end up with only a portion of the amount being sought.
Many agencies of government necessarily deal with
uncertainties that make it difficult or impossible to formulate or work within
exact budgets. Such agencies could borrow from the government savings discussed
earlier. All surpluses and borrowing should be entirely visible to the public.
Borrowing should be only of the most temporary nature, and borrowed funds should be paid back from the very next
allocation of funds to the agency. By consistently operating slightly under
budget an agency could also develop its own surplus fund to use as
a buffer to stay on budget during difficult years. Rather than taking a reasonable operating
surplus to mean that an agency could get by with less funding, it could be made a
requirement that all agencies operate with a surplus sufficient to buffer
variations in the cost of their operations from year to year. Rather than the
government possessing some centralized savings or surplus, such surplus could be
distributed throughout its agencies to act as a constellation of buffers to be
used to keep
all operations within budget.
The central point here is that by a system of savings,
surpluses, triage, and whatever other mechanisms it may develop, the government
as a whole and in its myriad parts could and should stay within the money
allocations set by the demos.
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Beyond Plutocracy - Direct Democracy for America
© Copyright 2001-2017 Roger D Rothenberger