We just finished an election cycle. One of the most amazing things to me is the method we use for deciding how our schools are funded. We require levies to be voted on by the citizens of the community. I understand the goal is to have the “people decide how they want to spend their money”. But are the people equipped to make a sound, logical decision this in this case?
People generally oppose levies for schools for three reasons:
(1) “I am on a fixed income/I am barely making ends meet. I cannot afford any more taxes.”
(2) “The schools are inefficient with the funds they already get. They have a bureaucracy in place that needs to be reduced. They need to get by on less funds like we all do.”
(3) “I don’t believe in higher taxes. I am already taxed too much.”
Okay, let’s give those people the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say that every one of those reasons is valid and rational. My point is not that they are right or wrong. My point is why do we entrust one of most important functions, educating our children, to the whim of voters?
What if we did the same thing for other Governmental functions?
Can you imagine if those same citizens were provided the opportunity to vote on sending aid to Egypt or Saudi Arabia, for instance? Let’s vote on giving billions of dollars to Middle Eastern countries run by non-Democratic governments. Ha, fat chance that would happen, if for no other reasons than those cited above. What if we gave them the opportunity to vote on the billions of dollars that goes into all of the various intelligence agencies? If people stuck to the reasons cited above – and why shouldn’t they be consistent – there is no way the Government would win.
You can take this point to just about any Governmental program. If people stuck to their very logical arguments listed above, would anything get funded? It would be mass chaos in the US. Obviously we would never do that. We know that people don’t have enough information to make decisions on many programs. They also would vote for their own personal interests, not thinking about the great good perhaps. And as citizens of the larger world, we all need to be involved in the world.
So for some reason, funding for most functions the Government does don’t get voted on by the people (Post Office, Food and Drug Administration, EPA, etc.). We allow the bureaucracy to function however it does. But my original question still lingers. Why do we entrust funding one of the most important functions to the people?