Sunday, July 30, 2017

Are Citizens Too Busy For Crowd Funded Government?

Brian Johnson continued with another excellent question regarding Crowd Funded Government: Are citizens too busy for Crowd Funded Government?

Brian Johnson
July 30, 2017 at 9:03 AM

Let me preface my reply to your essay with your concept is interesting and I would love to see how it would really work on a small scale with select topics.

With that said, I won't speak for others, I'll speak for myself. I'm an average American. I work 45-50 hours a week and spend an hour a day in a car to get to work and back. I have a wife, 2 dogs, 2 children, and drive a mini van. I am in a rush from the time I wake up to get kids ready to go to school or daycare, get get them there and try not to be late to work. I work hard because if I don't, I'm just a number to my company and I'm expendable. I hurry home to try to get my family fed a real meal, maybe spend an hour or 2 of quality time with my children before they get to sleep. NOW is the time that I would then have to devote to things I'm passionate about. This 9 or 10pm mind you.

I'm passionate about sports, disney, fishing, and my kids. And there are times I'm just too tired for that, and would rather just go to sleep so I can start all over again at 6am. I'm the average American.

Your concept assumes that I, the average American has time to participate. I'm stretched thin enough, why do I need to do my elected officials jobs.

Secondly, in no way did I emply that American citizens are stupid. What we are is either uninformed or miss informed about many things, and too damn busy. Social media has become main stream and guides many in wrong directions. We live in the world of "fake news", news with partial truths, even fact based information that is published with only partial information. I found myself disgusted in the last election trying to find information on the people I was going to vote for and their views on topics. With CFG not only would I have to weed through that mess, but also through the facts, or miss information of where my money goes. It's not just about intelligence, but it's about time, and willingness to participate. I think your grossly underestimating the average American and his or her daily lives and responsibilities.

Crowd Funded Government

Your anecdotal story of a busy weekday is similar to my "on-call" days and most other members of the working class, but you are exceptionally busy according to the available statistics.

According to TechCrunch, of the 5 hours that the average American spends on their smartphone, over half of that time is spent on recreational activities such as social media. Social media is one of the recent innovations in our society that makes Crowd Funded Government possible. Social media would be the primary marketplace of ideas for Crowd Funded Government for millions of citizens to share their political thoughts and passions with others.

Right now, social media's political landscape is littered with "Trump Is Hitler," "Trump Is An Infallible God Emperor," and many other non-productive political discussions. Shouldn't we replace at least some of these circular discussions with substantive discussions regarding the best programs for our tax dollars? Let's give passionate citizens an outlet to create real change in society besides meaningless bumper sticker slogans and gotcha-one-liner Tweets.

I know that we can't control "fake news" and outright propaganda on the Internet. However, I trust in my fellow citizens to call balls and strikes when they see them. I don't think that just because there is some incorrect information on the Internet, therefore we should just bow down to politicians and forget about this Crowd Funded Government idea. That's not logical.

Americans need to help our elected officials do their jobs because the approval ratings of most elected officials and institutions are very low. Very few on the left or right are happy with the status quo, but what options do they have besides going on social media and switching between discussions that are either hate-filled or echo chambers? Crowd Funded Government offers a concrete solution to the dissatisfaction that the average American has with the political status quo.

Lobbyists have taken over Washington DC and state legislatures. Laws are routinely passed that fund government programs that directly benefit certain corporations or industries that the average American wouldn't contribute a dime to if they could look at the details. We need to stop lobbyists from stealing our tax dollars and funding programs that have little popular support. I've provided my solution to the problem of corruption in lobbying, but if you have a better solution, I'd like to hear it. Your description of keeping your head down, pulling a left or right lever for a politician, and then throwing your hands up because you're "too busy" is not a solution.

I should have been more careful with my "stupid" discussion in our previous exchange. You were much more careful with how you phrased it. I was not referring directly to your comment, but instead, I was referring to a common flippant response that I receive: "Everyone who doesn't act and think exactly like me is stupid, therefore Crowd Funded Government won't work." I agree that your point was much more nuanced than that. In fact, you have made such a good set of arguments that I have made front page posts in response.

Finally, I want to steer this discussion back to involuntary taxation, which is the key principle of Crowd Funded Government. Have you ever complained about your taxes? You involuntarily pay tax for your land, on your purchases, and on your income. You then are presented with a government that very few are satisfied with. I have met no one who says that their taxes are so low that they contribute an extra amount on their check in April because they're so thrilled with the current set of government programs.

If you're really too busy to care about how your tax dollars are spent, then the "check the box" option is for you. Under my vision for Crowd Funded Government, you can spend a few minutes per year to "check the box" and fully fund every program in the budget. Your experience compared with the status quo would be unchanged. The politicians set the budget, and you can support it without exception.

I don't believe that "checking the box" is what you would do. You're passionate. You care about your family's future. You would "uncheck" at least a few programs that you don't believe are the best way to spend your tax dollars. I believe that you would find programs that you're passionate about, such as stadium funding, environmental conservation, and the funding of your kids' education. You would contribute more to those programs, and then you would share your opinions on social media in an attempt to influence others who are less passionate about those topics.

I believe in you. I have the same confidence in our fellow Americans. Crowd sourcing our intelligence and crowd funding our paychecks is the future solution for our political system.

Thank you for sharing your ideas on my blog. Sometimes my writing is a bit pointed, so I want to genuinely thank you. You're taking your valuable time to help me on my journey to change the world.

All I ask is that everyone keeps telling me that "Voluntarily crowd funding government programs is a bad idea because . . ." until there is no one left with that opinion.

What About Uninformed or Inactive Citizens?

Brian Johnson submitted a great comment today regarding uninformed or inactive citizens in the comments section on the FAQ page. Thank you to Brian for the thoughtful questions.

Please step up to the plate and convince me that the status quo is better than Crowd Funded Government. If Crowd Funded Government is the truth, then it should not fear the light.

Brian Johnson
July 29, 2017 at 3:23 PM

I feel that this system would require our population to be generally more informed and more active. Considering most of our population doesn't even vote, and the ones who do in many cases aren't even fully informed about what they have voted for, this presents an interesting question on how those uninformed and inactive citizens will properly fund this government. How do we trust that our citizens will be making informed financial decisions in the best interest of all, and that all will participle. I know I do the best I can to educate myself, but I have a full time job, I don't have the time to be my own politician too, that's why I vote.

Crowd Funded Government
July 30, 2017

Thank you for bringing up a topic that I have been thinking about lately. I haven't had the chance to put my thoughts on this topic down in an organized fashion, but I'll put together a quick summary. Eventually, I'll take this reply, make it more readable, and then add it to the FAQ because I discuss it often.

Two assumptions that I am making when advocating for Crowd Funded Government are:

1. Most citizens are only informed and passionate about certain topics.
Citizens will analyze potential government projects using their unique knowledge to help direct those that are less informed to make informed decisions. Crowd sourcing our knowledge and interests will lead to a citizenry that is informed and ready to fund projects that they support.

2. Citizens are more intelligent than our daily anecdotes indicate.

Yes, we all have anecdotes about some people making poor choices. That does not mean that everyone is "stupid." I hate when people tell me that people are too "stupid" for Crowd Funded Government. I have never met anyone who is "stupid." Everyone has unique talents and abilities. Crowd Funded Government will harness everyone's interests and opinions and combine them to create a government that actually delivers what we want.

One option, if citizens choose to deliberately remain ignorant, but still want to contribute to the government, must be made available, as much as it pains me to offer it. Everyone will have the option to support all projects by "clicking one box." Just like today's taxation, you can give your money to all projects in the budget. I don't think that many citizens will choose to "click one box" if presented with an option to contribute more to their favorite programs and less to other projects, but that option must be available to ensure that everyone can easily contribute.

The best part of Crowd Funded Government is that everyone doesn't have to participate. If you choose to spend no money on government projects, you will instead choose to spend your money in the economy. Other people will receive your money and can then choose whether to spend it on the government projects that they support. The government would then truly be of the people, by the people, for the people.

Regarding your final point, politicians are still involved in this process. You still vote for politicians to write the laws and advocate for their favorite laws. Consider this: You dedicate several hours to tax preparation each year, or each month if you run a business. That time could be replaced with researching the various government programs that you're considering supporting.

You do have the time to participate. Your fellow citizens do have the intelligence needed to make informed decisions regarding which programs to fund. Thank you for your interest in Crowd Funded Government, and please don't hesitate to comment or Tweet me additional thoughts. If Crowd Funded Government is the truth, then it should not fear the light.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Twitter and Chicago Flooding

Crowd Funded Government's Twitter account, @CrowdFundedGov, has over 500 followers. Thank you all for your support! Please keep sending your questions and feedback to this blog and to the Twitter account.

The next stop in the speaking tour will be determined when the flooding in the Chicago region subsides. I am a first responder to emergency situations, so my schedule has been busier than ever before.

I will also continue to turn the content on the "On Deck" page into blog posts when my schedule allows. There are so many opportunities to discuss Crowd Funded Government, but my free time is very limited right now.

The message of Crowd Funded Government will continue to be spread 140 characters at a time on Twitter in the meantime.