Friday, October 14, 2011

Do We Want Direct Democracy?

The founding fathers shunned “direct democracy” because they feared that decisions regarding governance would be made by emotions rather than sound judgement and, as much as I like the fact that the “silent majority” is becoming no longer silent, I think that the tenor of Occupy Wall Street is a case in point proving the pitfall of direct democracy.

Suppose the protestors succeed in their goal of “taxing the rich” which seems to be the predominant issue, what is actually gained by that? How many jobs are created for those who are presently unemployed? How many wage increases are given to those who presently have jobs? How many student loans or past due home mortgages are paid off?

Sure, the protestors are complaining about these other issues, but the only solution they are proposing is to tax the rich.

President Obama is making the case for his “jobs bill” and pursuing a course whereby direct democracy would override the normal representative governmental process to get it passed, but how many people who favor it actually understand the implications of it?

The beneficial aspects of the bill are “paid for” by a tax on the rich, for instance, but those benefits only last one year and the tax lasts ten years. What are we going to do next year when we need to renew the benefits of the bill, but the taxes which might pay for it are already running and will continue to do so for nine more years? President Obama doesn’t have to worry about that, he will have been reelected as a result of the popular support for his “jobs bill” and its renewal will be somebody else’s problem.

To repeat, one year of benefit is offset by ten years of taxation. How many times can we do that? Especially when we don’t tell anyone we are doing it, in order to get them to agree to doing it. That’s why the founding fathers said it was a bad idea to let 300 million people decide what should be done. They didn’t know it would be 300 million, but they knew it would be too many to make a valid decision, and so does Barack Obama.

When President Obama tells you to “call your legislator and tell them to pass this bill” he is subverting the constitution, bypassing the representative form of government which is defined in that document. You object when lobbyists tell your legislators how to vote on legislation, why are you okay with fellow citizens who may or may not agree with your position being able to tell them how to vote?

Our government is unquestionably broken, but mob rule is not the solution.

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