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Thursday, May 13

YouCut: vote online or text to vote on cutting wasteful federal spending


YouCut was unveiled yesterday. Here's how YouCut works and where you can go to vote, from Greta Van Susteren's interview last night on Fox News Cable with Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House of Representatives Minority Whip:
[...] CANTOR: YouCut is a program that we unveiled today. It was produced by the Economic Recovery Working Group in the House, a group of Republicans who really intend on trying to change the culture in Washington. You know, not only have we've seen just rampant pork barrel spending, but the whole process itself is bent towards spending money. And so what this program is, is an ability for people across the country to make their voices heard, to vote on what they think should be cut from the federal budget.

VAN SUSTEREN: So let me understand. So you go online [or text] to YouCut, and you get to vote on what you think should be cut out of the federal budget?

CANTOR: Right. And then the winning item, we take that, and then we're going to put it to a vote, to an up-or-down vote on the House floor the following week.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. How often do you vote? How often are items put up on YouCut so that Americans can vote whether it should be cut or not cut?

CANTOR: Well, once a week, there will be five new items to be voted on by the American people. So today, with the launch, there are five items up there right now. As of four hours into the launch, we were getting thousands of people coming to the website to cast their vote. ...

And once we tally all that up, the following week, we will bring that to an up-or-down vote on the House floor.
[...]
Click here for more of the interview.

Here is the website where you can vote or find out how to text your vote:

Republicanwhip.house.gov/youcut

I don't agree with Greta when she tells Eric that YouCut is a way the Republicans have found to "clobber" the Democrats. Surely there are some Republicans who think that way but they haven't thought things through. In my view, YouCut is not about clobbering an opposing political party; it's about upgrading the way a superpower democracy is run in the 21st Century.

During the past decade, more and more Americans have learned to their horror that "representative democracy" at the U.S. federal level has put the foxes in charge of the chicken coop.

Add to this is the sea change I noted in 2005 when I asked, How do you run a government when the voters are smarter than you?
...for the first time in recorded history the pyramid of society is turned upside down. Except for a very few pockets around the world, the government does not represent the smartest and best-informed people in the society....
Sixty years ago in this country relatively few Americans had a college eduction, women in the workforce were few, and entire industries that saw little foreign competition could afford to be wasteful and inefficient.

So it was perfectly fine in those days to be satisfied with letting Congress run itself with little close oversight, and with pork barrel politics, rather than competence, as the decider in sending representatives to Congress.

Those days are long gone. Today, Americans who are flogged to ever greater productivity in their workplace, and who as bosses flog their employees to work better and think faster, are quickly able to discern who is sluffing off in government, who is incompetent, and who is corrupt as the day is long.

Americans who would get fired in their own place of work for such behaviors are no longer willing to put their tax money at the disposal of people in government they easily perceive to be incompetents and crooks.

Yet the only way to change the situation is if Americans roll up their sleeves and do more of the task of governing themselves. That's one more load of responsibility added to the burden of the already-overworked American labor force. But a big part of the American culture is a do-it-yourself mentality.

This doesn't mean the end of representative democracy in the USA but I see YouCut as the first step to the electorate taking a hands-on involvement with closely supervising how elected representatives work in Congress. That's the way things are going to have to be, at least until Washington is brought into the modern era.

So, go vote, if any or all of the five programs up for vote this week at the YouCut website strike you as being wasteful.

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