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Bypass the politicians.

Avoid the political middleman.
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There are certain funding proposals in the political millieu which are guaranteed to evoke shrieks of protest. These may be situated on the right or the left of the political divide, it doesn't really matter. Stem cell, abortion, military funding, the proper age for consenting bovines, etc. For these select few "hotbutton" issues, I propose a more efficient means of democratic process.

For the top 5 controversial issues of the year: Why not let people steer a predetermined amount of their yearly tax money toward the controversial funding proposal(s) of their choice? It's like direct voting. No lengthy senate/parlimentary brawls. You just check a box on your tax form. The more popular proposals get funded, the less don't. And all in proportion to the popular will.

crater, Jun 09 2005

Taxpayer Controlled Budget Taxpayer-Controlled_20Budget
Same idea really. [DrBob, Jun 10 2005]

[link]






       Even in theory, this would only work as much as proportional representation does/did. With so many potential things to vote for, a lot of proposals would get small amounts of money, with few getting enough to do real amounts of work.
hidden truths, Jun 09 2005
  

       i edited. now just 5 issues. thanks hidden!
crater, Jun 09 2005
  

       Very good idea. put your money where your vote is! Don't like something? don't pay for it! Like something? pay for it!
zeno, Jun 10 2005
  

       Not bad, although budget planning would be utter chaos. Avoids the issue of skipping payment for the mundane but necessary functions by not making them hot issues.   

       Not certain if the public is up to the task of exploring the issues in enough detail, but perhaps this would force our hand.
RayfordSteele, Jun 10 2005
  

       I'm assuming that there's a fixed percentage, say 2%, of their tax that people can steer and that the option to keep the money is not offered (because it certainly wouldn't be). There are (at least) three basic ways of looking at this:
i) The aggregated votes of all taxpayers determine the proportion of the total steerable tax take that goes to each proposal,
ii) Each taxpayer's vote determines the proportion of *his* steerable tax that goes to each proposal,
iii) As ii but with a 'none of the above' option.
Which of these (or some other option, or combination of options) are you proposing?
angel, Jun 10 2005
  

       It's a nice idea but it's already been baked. You're in good company though [crater]. Quoting the Beastie Boys on their track "Alive":

"I'd like to have a say on the income tax
Don't wanna help build bombs and that's the facts
No money for health care, so what's the catch?
The man got you locked with no keys to the latch"

Is this the first celebrity half-baked idea I wonder?
DocBrown, Jun 10 2005
  

       [angel] I was thinking of your option ii). But frankly, I prefer your option iii). It appeals to the "do nothing" side of me. It was my intent that the "steerable" funds were in any case not to be returned to the taxpayer. If you don't choose, then your discretionary funds are returned to the control of the legislators.
crater, Jun 10 2005
  

       How do you define 'controversial'? How do you decide which proposals are 'most controversial'? When it boils down to it, this idea is really nothing more than the familiar '"decide which things my tax money is spent on" idea, which is neither original or likely to happen. Sorry crater but [marked–for–deletion], not an original idea, advocacy and redundant (link).
DrBob, Jun 10 2005
  

       No problem [Dr. Bob]. I would define "controversial" objectively as that which generates the most coverage/reaction in the press. Perhaps to be ascertained via Lexus/Nexus search. The inventive step (if there is one) here is that people could vote and decide these issues without the endless demagoguery and harangue that, in my view, clogs the machinery of democracy. It's grass-roots, dude. And thanks for reading my post.
crater, Jun 10 2005
  

       The "endless demagoguery and harangue" is the very material of the "machinery of democracy" that you claim it clogs.
jutta, Jun 10 2005
  

       Ha-ha! You're right [jutta]. It would seem to be the very material. It's not, however a very useful end-product. Someone once said "we are political animals", maybe we all secretly crave the sturm und drang of political debate.
crater, Jun 10 2005
  

       "Give to your favorite charity ... yourself"
reensure, Jun 10 2005
  

       If you use that method, crater, then you are replacing the policy choices of your elected representatives with those of a bunch of unelected newspaper editors. Isn't that less democratic not more?
DrBob, Jun 11 2005
  

       Hmmm..I see your point [DrBob]. Politicians v. Newspaper Editors; a race to the bottom if ever there was one.
crater, Jun 11 2005
  

       Indeed. Things are never so bad that they can't get worse.
DrBob, Jun 11 2005
  

       So popular ideas get funding. That makes sense in no way to me, if the public decides government policy then the UK will be immigrant free within 10 years with a ruined economy. As [Rayford] said, the masses have no idea what is good for them sometimes.   

       Also, didn't we elect polititions to make these decisions for us? Why stop them from doing their job?
Germanicus, Jun 12 2005
  

       <Gladiator> Senator, to Emperor Commodius, "Your Highness, the Senate are the people." </Gladiator>
reensure, Jun 12 2005
  

       /So popular ideas get funding. That makes sense in no way to me/   

       Marx would be proud...
crater, Jun 13 2005
  

       <Groucho> "I shot an elephant in my pyjamas..." </G>
DrBob, Jun 13 2005
  

       ...how 'e got in there, I'll never know...
crater, Jun 13 2005
  

       Slight modification to this idea. Instead of steering tax towards a particular department or issue, why not vote directly for a leader of (say, UK-biased, sorry - but you get the idea) the NHS, Ministry of Defence, Foreign Office, Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Education Department   

       Take the right of the Prime Minister away from appointing a certain set of ministers and give it to the people.   

       It might at least get rid of the circus of cabinet re-shuffles and the like....
monojohnny, Aug 16 2006
  

       //So popular ideas get funding.//   

       That's how it works. The popular projects will be like the suggestions on this site that get lots of buns. Someone decides to build a giant penis in the capital. Then millions of people think it's funny and it ends up taller than the Taipei 101 and gold plated.
Bad Jim, Jul 03 2008
  
      
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