Different uses for voting
need different types of voting.
Other voting rules for setting budgets

Agency Budget Notes

Setting budgets with voting rules, chapter contents

Public Goods

Almost everyone says they don't like paying taxes. But we might as well say we don't like paying for a house or food, government is necessary for both in densely populated societies. Many do claim they do not like paying for a house or food. But when asked they admit they did not buy the cheapest house; they preferred paying a bit more for a better one. So by their behavior they 'enjoyed' paying.

Would you choose the cheapest house you can get, or would you rather pay for a quality house? Would you choose the cheapest doctor you can get, or would you rather pay for a quality doctor? Would you choose the cheapest government you can get, or would you rather pay for a quality government, -- the cheapest police, public health system, or education of future citizens? Would you rather live, raise a family and grow old in low-tax Mexico or in high-tax Canada? Would you like your city to be more like Mexico City or Toronto?

Which countries have the highest quality of life? (for the middle and working classes; the upper classes can enjoy security and health care anywhere.) Are most of them high-tax or low-tax governments?

List what you can gain from good government; what you can lose from bad government. Of all the things you want in life, are these high priorities? [Consider: public health, public roads and schools, clean air and water, safe food and pharmaceuticals, ... police, fire, army, Versus crime, disease, corruption, abuse of power, ]

Government policies affect your happiness.

Market failures -- draft

A government helps people band together to do things which they cannot do efficiently as individual consumers.

Does (should) wealth give rich people more civil rights than poor people? Should a few people have the power to change the climate or to poison a stream that flows to other people's land? Does (should) wealth give rich people more voice in elections and legislation than poor people?

Government can be a stochastic system; a system that starts moving in one direction and tends to swerve further in that direction. That happens when policies give more political power to the already powerful -- positive feedback. These are often ethnic, religious or economic groups.


Sometimes a group cannot get together for voting. No one should be allowed to vote after the others because that would give her the power to make changes that no one else could counter. A person who cannot come to the meeting may vote before the others -- a disadvantage but better than having no vote.

Tax reductions and rebates can be line items.

An average rep can learn to navigate a ballot with 2 screens of choices, up to about 50 items.

A government or organization with more line items than that needs to take a series of votes on separate ballots; call them I, II, III. Each new ballot gives a rep her shares of money and political cards. The first questions are how much money do we give set I, how much to set II and III? So the first ballot, ballot zero, divides the total funds among the subsequent categories.

Ballot zero lists the major departments while each later ballot lists the agencies within a department. Ballot zero for a town might include the departments of health, education, transportation... The health department ballot might include a clinic, restaurant inspections, water testing...

Each rep's share of money on ballot zero may be equal or may vary with votes received. Each rep's share of money on the health agencies ballot is the amount she granted to the health department on ballot zero.

So if she gives some money to tax rebates, she may not use that amount of money for her favorite agencies. If she cuts social services, she may not give as much to those services as other reps. If she cuts military spending, she has less influence on military spending. But she has no less influence on setting social or military policies.


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