Ballot propositions: The voice of the people or the tyranny of the majority?
January 23, 2011 § 3 Comments
Michael E. Newton over at The Path to Tyranny (a much better looking blog than mine, with a better name), writes of his hatred for Democracy in an entertaining post.
I’m not as convinced that direct democracy is such a negative thing, and here’s why: In the 1950s, the top Federal tax rate was 90%, and that was without any sort of referendum. The people demanded an interstate highway system, a national retirement plan, a robust military, and they were willing to pay for all of it. What has happened, in my opinion, is that the politicians recognized that paying for what the people want isn’t really necessary when you can just borrow the money (as a nation) and get what you want without suffering the pain of payment.
The only difference I can discern between spending by referendum and spending by elected representatives is that, through ballot propositions, the people are increasing taxes to pay for needed services. The government, on the other hand, provides services without covering the costs (which is why so many states, and the Federal Government, have budget crises). The people are wise, while the government is manipulative.
Mr. Newton’s problem is primarily that the people vote for tax increases to pay for specific services (which is wise), and the government then keeps the money without providing the services. The problem, then, isn’t direct democracy, but unresponsive and untrustworthy representatives.