Monday, May 22, 2017

Crowdfunding Government: Jordan Raynor at TEDxTampaBay

Jordan Raynor's 2012 TEDx speech was one of my inspirations for this website, so I wanted to put Mr. Raynor's video up first. Mr. Raynor has some great insights regarding the value that crowd funding can, and should, provide to government:

A head-scratching situation occurred when Colorado Springs spent more per capita via a voluntary "Adopt a Streetlight" crowd funding campaign instead of a proposed, then rejected, involuntary tax increase. According to Mr. Raynor, to explain the paradox of voters preferring to pay more voluntarily, rather than an involuntary tax increase, "It was about wanting control over where money was spent." I thought that this was logically going to lead Mr. Raynor to propose the voluntary crowd funding of all government functions and services.

However, at 7:18, Mr. Raynor throws a curveball. Mr. Raynor claims, with a chuckle, "No, we are not going to crowd source, crowd fund, the national debt. Let's just get that out of the way now." And that, sadly, is the end of Mr. Raynor's discussion of using crowd funding to deal with one of the most intimidating features of the federal budget.

The current plan for the national debt is to continue to make minimum payments. Taxpayers paid $0.432 trillion in interest in Fiscal Year 2016. The next minimum payment on the $20+ trillion national debt is written into every federal budget for the foreseeable future. I demand a solution that does not kick the can down the road any longer. This current plan is unacceptable.

I agree with Mr. Raynor's premise that most people are not going to want to directly pay for the national debt. I believe that citizens will find more important spending priorities to focus on. We should use that enthusiasm to also settle the national debt. The solution that I developed would be to indirectly pay down the national debt's principal and interest payments as an "overhead" expense, which would be a variable percentage of the total revenue that is voluntarily collected for the projects that citizens are passionate about.

One of the goals of Crowd Funded Government is to not let any intimidating parts of our budgets prevent us from considering switching from involuntary taxation to voluntary crowd funding. The national debt is large, and the interest payments will continue to add up, but with enough voluntary enthusiasm for this crowd funding idea, I believe that we can generate enough revenue to pay down and eventually eliminate the national debt over several decades.

Let's crowd fund all government spending. Let's eliminate the national debt's principal and interest payments from the federal budget in our lifetime. Please contribute questions, ideas, and donations to help make my dream of Crowd Funded Government a reality.