Monday, August 7, 2017

How Can The Average Citizen Make Informed Decisions Regarding Complex Budgets?

Brian Johnson is on fire! He asks another great question: How can the average citizen make informed decisions regarding complex budgets?

Brian Johnson
July 31, 2017 at 2:45 PM

Have you seen political discussions on social media... rhetorical question because I'm sure you understand how nasty, biased, and quite frankly unproductive they are. Most recently in my experience my town was pushing through a development project for a downtown apartment complex. I'm friends with an alderman in town so I had good information directly from the source. The incorrect, hypothetical, and some completely made up informotion that was spewed on Facebook, message boards, and other platforms by folKS who were against it was unbelievable. Along with that was name calling, personal attacks on others. People think because they can hide behind their keyboards and not look into someone's eyes they have the right to say whatever they want. Im not sure I want to live in a world where that is mine, and my neighbors primary information source.

Also, in big government, at the National scale there are at minimum of thousands of different things to fund. Again to ask the average American as myself to chose, and do so in an informed matter what's best for me is a lot. I may know that I want to fund one of say pro choice or pro abortion, but when it comes to national defense, the security of our country, I'm not qualified to make those decisions, and neither are 90% of my neighbors.

At some point you're asking the people to throw darts if the entire government is crowd funded.

I could see it working if the voter or "funder" has a smaller list to chose from. Let's say 15-20 different topics. So in general a certain percentage of your dollars are going to general government, and the other choice percentage goes to where you chose. If you don't show up to vote then it's as if you "checked the box". More people may actually show up to vote then also.

Crowd Funded Government
August 7, 2017 at 7:57 PM

If the downtown apartment development site required government funded improvements, such as public road access or utility modifications, then that would be a good example of how Crowd Funded Government is an improvement over the current system. Currently, the developer would lobby the local government officials to include these modifications as part of a larger capital improvement program. Well-connected developers with better political ties get their projects funded and executed faster.

Crowd Funded Government would eliminate this corruption. The developer would be forced to either pay for the costs of that capital improvement on their own, or convince fellow citizens to contribute to that government project.

You have a valid concern regarding the funding of thousands of projects, some of which are very complex and require a very detailed understanding. This ties back to our previous discussion about the crowd sourcing of information. Those who are knowledgeable about national security projects would share their opinions regarding which government programs should or should not be funded. Every citizen does not need to be an expert in every field of government spending. We just need enough passionate citizens to share their expertise with one another.

More broadly, I envision certain political parties, figures, and organizations to be the answer to your dart dilemma. Those with a better understanding of the overall budget could issue predetermined lists of the projects that they recommend funding and the percentages that they would recommend allocating. Citizens would then have a starting point of programs and percentages that they could then customize to suit their exact preferences. I would imagine that very few citizens would be interested in going line-by-line through the entire budget.

Crowd sourcing our collective intelligence is the best way to make the most informed decisions regarding how to spend our tax dollars.