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Sliding Scale Democracy

Politicians get paid according to their popularity!
  (+3, -4)
(+3, -4)
  [vote for,

Just like with music artists, politicians could be paid according to popularity. The more votes they get, the more money they get.

Majority winners would get a maximum salary. Perhaps something reasonable, like, 70,000$/y, tops, and a nice house.

On a side note, I don't know what you american dudes get your national debt, but here in Canada, we waste a helluva lotta cash by paying wimps and lackeys to do menial labor on Parliament Hill - like opening a door or ringing a bell and getting paid 60K.

I think the head of the Official Opposition party should assume that lackey position... putting out fresh magazines in waiting rooms, ringing the bell every lunch hour... but that just might be another idea.

Anyway. That's my idea.

Unimpressed? Here, read this macabre story.

"Robin Hood was walking through the woods one day when she fell into a hole and died."


lucidish, Sep 01 2000

adbusters http://www.adbuster...orporate/flash.html
Gain some modicum of control over Corporate behaviour. [Scott_D, Sep 01 2000]

adbusters http://www.adbuster...orporate/flash.html
Gain some modicum of control over Corporate behaviour. [Scott_D, Oct 04 2004]


       I don't think politicians should get paid at all. If they're doing the job because they're only interested in the well being of the country/community they allegedly represent, as most of them claim, then they should happily do the job on an expenses only basis.   

       ...and I heard that Robin Hood actually survived the drop but caught her death of cold after being stuck down the hole for a week.
DrBob, Sep 02 2000

       I disagree when it comes to non-municipal politics. Federal and provincial/staterun politics are definetly a full time job, purely because of the scope. But there's a definite limit to the value those officials actually have, heh... :)
lucidish, Sep 02 2000

       Call me cynical, but I think it's *waaaay* too much to hope that politicians are "only interested in the well being of the country/community".   

       No, politicians want power, period. The key is to make sure the electorate is the ultimate wellspring of that power, and to emplace sufficient checks and balances to prevent the system from collapsing into autocracy. Politicians are inherently "evil", but if incentivized properly, we can channel that evil and use it for good. : )   

       The issue with this idea is that politicians aren't terribly motivated by personal income; much as people grouse about legislative pay raises, it's not really a big deal. Again, politicians care about power. The reason money matters to them is that money can be used to pay for expensive campaigns (TV ads and whatnot) which keep them elected (maintain their power)... and no paltry salary will pay for that. Even if it did, wouldn't this just tend to cement the winning politicians into place?
egnor, Sep 02 2000

       Awesome points... :]   

       Checks and balances, though... the easiest way to do that, or most functional, is to saturate the said people in a culture that is more relaxed, and is capable of exerting peer influence.   

       But that undermines the idea of politics in the first place... making stands on issues. So, maybe we create an artificial society around them, based just out of laws and beliefs... that might work. If it doesn't already exist, I mean.   

       A government complete with sub-cultures to fill in the gaps, like, morals and values and all that other stuff? Are those the checks and balances?
lucidish, Sep 03 2000

       Canadian, eh? Being a fellow countryman, I have to point out that most elections up here (at least in the West) usually just wind up being a popularity contest in the end anyway. (This probably applies to all levels of government in most countries as well.)   

       Unfortunately, as egnor says we're dealing with power-hungry individuals to whom money is simply a means to an end. Such individuals aren't normally known for integrity, so in a popularity- based pay system one can imagine that the more unethical politicians will do better and be placed in higher positions. Equate popularity with money, which is the means to more power, and the unscrupulous politicians will do almost anything to gain popularity.   

       The unscrupulous and unethical politicians will gain much more power under such a system as they have fewer qualms about breaking the rules to gain power. Do we really want this?
BigThor, Sep 05 2000

       I want elected guys who I don't have to worry about. Not all politicians are bad, yeah, but lots are. Hrm.   

       Ahwell. I'm sure I'll think of something eventually. I'll consider this idea only "quarter-baked" till then. :]
lucidish, Sep 27 2000

       That's what bribes are for, silly.
thumbwax, Sep 28 2000

       I, personally, would only accept bribes shown in yummy mints.
lucidish, Sep 28 2000

       The system you describe, thor, sounds like the current one - at the risk of repeating myself, some sort of campaign finance reform is called for to counter the trend of replacing human values with profit margin motivations. See the above link.
Scott_D, Sep 28 2000

       We should pay all our politicians huge salaries. This way they are less likely to accept any kind of bribery. There are so few politicians compared to the populace of any country that their large salaries wouldn't make a difference to the national budget. Also there is the hope that if they were being paid so much then they would be guilt-tripped into doing as good a job as is possible for them to do. DrBob's suggestion that they shouldn't get paid at all just means they will have to find some income somehow and accept any bribes that come their way. Naturally there are big gaping holes in both these arguements - I'll leave it to the rest of you to point out the ones in mine - so I think we should just leave it as it is.
will, Sep 28 2000

       Since you asked, the problem with politicians drawing huge salaries, is that it insulates them from the problems faced by those who do not have as large an income, and can even lead to psychological distancing and denigration of those who struggle to make ends meet, in the Narcissistic personality type. The other problem has a similar basis in Narcissistic pathology, namely, that there is never enough external compensation to satisfy, and there's always somebody "better" (read richer) than you are. As long as there are politicians, there will be among them a temptation to abuse their power to enrich themselves. They should be paid a living wage and their opportunities for opportunism strictly limited. This will tend to weed out the opportunists, and draw those truely dedicated to the public interest.   

       We should find someone to sponser as strict a bill as possible - a pro-democracy wish list - it won't pass now, but in time, we may be able to elect enough sympathetic candidates to pass it.
Scott_D, Sep 28 2000

       Getting back to the original concept -- I like the sliding scale democracy. I disagree that politicians are only motivated by power... money can be quite persuasive too. If the financial reward were SUBSTANTIAL, many would be willing to have an honest go at it.   

       The system would lead to a "following of the polls" of course -- but isn't that reality today?   

       One point to be clarified: when would "pay-out" occur? If it's substantially in the future, politicians have more room to take risk. If it's a daily measure, they are very like to do nothing at all!
danrue, Oct 02 2000

       On our USA tax returns there is a check box for whether the filer wants some petty amount to go to some presidential campaign fund. That could instead be requested on behalf of the officeholder payroll. If nobody checks the box, there is no payroll and service in elected office becomes a volunteer gig. I suppose whatever is collected could be doled out based on votes received in the election.
cypherpunks, Oct 21 2001

       Hmm interesting idea. It seems to me it has some fatal flaw though I can't seem to figure out what that is. There right about politicians being interested in power. period. weather for good or for bad. Politicians here in the state generally don't get paid much. Crappy lawyers can easily make more than the President of the United States. I think the real problem is figurin out how to allow bright people who are not rich run for political office. Currently only very rich people can afford to run a campaign. Most proposals to fix this run into first admentment problems.
tedhaubrich, Jun 07 2004

       Which came first, the chicken or the egg? If most politicians value power over money, why is that? Is it because they don't get a very high salary right now? If we were switch to paying huge amounts to politicians, as suggested by Will, will we get different kinds of politicians? Is it good or bad to have politicians who value money over power?   

       If we pay very little to politicians, we would exclude those looking for high salaries. But the greedy and corrupt will still come. They will merely look at public office as a vehicle to earn bribes and/or method to divert lucrative contracts to themselves.   

       We will however exclude honest people who would like to serve the community, but is not rich, and does not want to sacrifice their family for the opportunity. Paying politicians well is a good idea.   

       There's a big problem with paying politicians based on the votes they get. The number of votes they get depends not on their popularity alone. It also depends on the number of rivals. Two candidates in an election will result in the winner getting substantially more votes than the winner of a 3 candidate race.
gamut, Jun 11 2004

       I think this all skirts the major issue. I'm more interested in this revolutionary theory that Robin Hood was in fact female. This would make her a hero for the lesbian community, no?
harderthanjesus, Jun 11 2004


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