Contemplating Taxes

While I am a taxpayer, it appears perfectly reasonable that my contribution back to society deserves in return my choice on where the money goes.  However, if every taxpayer were to choose where their money goes, can it be assumed that the choices would sum up to benefit the greater good?  Let’s assume that there is a pure democracy where every individual is equal and receives a single vote.  Let’s also assume that the intelligence and number of the population is like that of the current United States.  If I subscribe to the assumption that individuals are selfish by nature, then the largest group of a selfish type will win the biggest rewards.  Since we live in something far removed from a pure democracy, something that is more like a bureaucracy and business influenced by many factors beyond its constituents, an individual is not freely empowered to determine where his contribution goes. 

It appears that empowerment to voice an opinion, or specifically where tax money flows in this case, is not determined by the number of votes and is certainly not free.  Luckily, a very wealthy individual, group of individuals, or a faceless entity like the corporation, can spend money to voice their opinion.  Anyone who benefits from this lobbying, whether by working for a corporation or being part of a union, becomes unwittingly complicit in a scheme that creates a disadvantage for everyone else. 

As an individual who benefits from a system that allows lobbying, and therefore already gives me an unfair advantage, do I have a legitimate moral high ground to criticize where my money flows? 

Is there such a thing as moral high ground?

 

Facebook for Democracy

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Facebook has become one of the few social media sites approved by members of Congress to be used for reaching out to the public.  Why not go one step further?

 

Facebook Poll and Question can be used to spark debate by members of the government and engage the public.  These tools can be used to get a good sense of the internet public opinion, at least, until the majority of people have joined Facebook. 

 

The policy of democracy by representation will always be in effect, but the representative will have a cheap and instant update from their public.  The public will also gain access to greater influence and hopefully transparency on policy. 

 

If the trend continues to move forward, Facebook then becomes a economical, lightweight vehicle for basic government functionality like voting, identification for drivers’ licenses, for fines and tickets.  Even congressional activities can be done over a webcam and votes submitted to Facebook in real-time, greatly improving efficiency and costs of the entire process.  Granted, in this brave new world, the Facebook places check-in feature would begin to feel very much like Big Brother.  There is however the benefit that Facebook could enable true Democracy and reduce the need for representatives to begin with.  Although to prevent mob rule, Facebook could still be used to elect more proletariat representatives, thus reducing the entry barriers and the typical campaign war chest required. 

 

With true representation, there is a question of true identity.  Facebook Connect is Facebook’s identity system which ties a Facebook user to his profile.  Should the Connect feature proliferate at its current pace across the web, they must move towards a more secure system. There is still no guarantee that one person does not have many profiles, no guarantee that a single person corresponds to his true profile, and probably many more tough challenges. 

 

Since industrial strength security measures are not in place yet, these speculations are fairly premature!  So don’t worry, Big Brother is not here yet.

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