I’m usually lambasted any time I bring up a topic remotely political — despite being a full-fledged American citizen with equal rights (at least, as equal as the law allows me to be when compared to others). I have no party affiliation for good reason; aligning myself with any kind of unwieldy organization gives me the willies. I’m not a fan of labels, and am certainly not a slave to the delusions of who anybody thinks I really am. I appreciate all forms of my government(s), and believe that emerging funding models may pull us out of a very dark period of blind faith.
I pay taxes (as do most people). I do not, however, maintain a granular level of control over how my tax money is used. It’s just… used. I have no idea if the projects I’ve funded have been successful or unsuccessful — not because the information isn’t out there somewhere, just that I can’t interpret any of it or track it in any meaningful way. I’m not connected to anything I’m funding, apart from living in a city in a state in a country that believes it knows best how to utilize my money. I could possibly elect someone different to better handle my resources, or… I could offer a suggestion that may (or may not) have merit.
There was news the other day that some random political person, if elected, would do away with certain government programs. And I wondered: “Okay, but why is this news? Couldn’t those programs just launch a funding project online and let their supporters support them outright?” I mean, this is how people do it on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and what-have-you. As much as it may shock anybody to hear it, I honestly believe that the future of funding is going to be in everybody’s hands — not the hands of a select few who have been placed in positions of power.
“Hey, Chris,” the government says. “You owe this much in taxes. How do you want to spend this money?”
Let me go through a laundry list of people, projects, and possibilities. I’ll place my bets on those I believe have the most potential to succeed. Let me “kickstart” programs and remain connected to them all the while, instead of wondering just where he hell my hard-earned money goes. Why not? Is the idea that far fetched? Aren’t we doing this (anyway) to a much lesser degree?
Let’s say we don’t change the entire system at first (and maybe it wouldn’t work for every possible government program), but why not officially try it with a certain series of government programs — like education. Why can’t I fund a teacher or class that has a specific goal (or series of goals), then receive progress reports and a note of thanks for helping that educator achieve education vs. hearing about how the public school system is failing America? We know that throwing more money at a problem isn’t a solution, and throwing less money at a system that’s likely already underfunded is just as asinine an option. So we might “kickstart” certain parts of the education system and fund our future (the children) directly.
I may not know the ins-and-outs of governments and taxation strategies, but I do know this: I pay taxes to governments. That money is going somewhere, and I have no idea if it’s being wasted. That’s frustrating. Did I help hire a complete nincompoop? Did I help fund a poorly structured effort? Oh, I’m sure of it. Didn’t have to be that way, though. Doesn’t have to be that way again, either. Why can’t all government projects be kickstarted instead of blanketfunded?
I suspect that the only ones who might be nervous about this change are those who are ill-prepared to take the money they’re given today. Oops.
Maybe my idea (that I’ve seen play out to great degrees of success already in non-governmental constructs) is hogwash. Maybe I’m crazy to believe that we’ll eventually find our way here, since that’s the promise of what America stands for: being able to change the system at any point in time. I’m not saying we need to get rid of government programs; I’m saying we need to start funding them differently with the same array of resources.
Could a Kickstarter Government Really Work?
Change doesn’t come overnight, but it also doesn’t come unless someone pushes for change. That change in your pocket? It’s yours. Wouldn’t you want to spend it on something you care about most, building change with others to give rise to what most people in your area truly care about most vs. what you’re told you care about (or what an elected official decides for you)?
You’re a walking special interest group yourself — why not have the ability to decide where your money really goes? I think it’s worth considering. I don’t care who you are or where you’re from, either.
But I don’t have powerful lobbyists, so… this idea may very well be doomed before it was even shared in a written capacity. One thing’s for sure, though: I want a more transparent government, and have now offered a cogent idea for it to implement instead of merely complaining about it and blindly blaming “the other party.”