How to Really
Fix What's Really Wrong with our Government
A partial redesign of our government that puts the entire electorate in the driver’s seat
Beyond Plutocracy presents a partial redesign of our government that repairs its most fundamental ills and, unlike today, really puts the entire electorate in the driver’s seat. A fourth branch is added: the demos, a nationwide electronic voting system. In the demos the electorate deliberates, votes and achieves consensus on our most important issues and guides the rest of the government and our nation. The electorate directly controls some central economic powers including the sole power to tax. A new honest demos electoral system results in a congress that resembles and truly represents the entire electorate.
America is not really a democracy but a plutocracy
Plutocracy is governance by the wealthy. America is not really a democracy but a plutocracy dominated by the wealthy who, both in our market economy and in our government, serve themselves first and best, much to the detriment of the rest of the populace.
In my book Beyond Plutocracy - True Democracy for America, hereafter simply Beyond, available free at www.beyondplutocracy.com, I offer a partial redesign of our government that, I believe, really fixes in just the right way what is really wrong with it.
Achieving true democracy is the right repair of our government. But as the phrases the tyranny of democracy and the rule of the mob suggest, not only plutocracy but also democracy has deep shortcomings and pitfalls and must be handled carefully.
It is by adding to our government (or to any government) just the right kind and amount of direct democracy that its representative branches are rendered truly representative of the entire electorate; the tyranny of plutocracy is overcome; the democracy itself does not become a tyranny; and the responsible personal freedom of the individual is maximized in a just, equitable society.
While Beyond cannot be fully understood and appreciated save by reading the entire book, this summary highlights the principal elements of my repair of our government.
I add a new direct democracy branch, the demos, to our government.
The purpose of the demos is to put the entire electorate firmly into the driver's seat of our government.
The demos has limited powers balanced with the limited powers of the currently existing branches.
It has a nationwide electronic voting network. One may vote at any time from almost anywhere including even from one’s home.
All of-age, able citizens have the civic duty to vote. Disenfranchisement for any reason is unconstitutional.
The demos equally empowers every member of the electorate whether living in a rural area or a large city. Voting is surprisingly convenient and easy. It can take as little as 5 or 10 minutes per year.
The greatest dishonesties of our government are an electoral system and tax and other economic laws that overwhelmingly favor the wealthy.
Correcting these dishonesties is of the highest importance, trumping all other issues. Also, for reasons discussed in Beyond chapter 5, the electorate can directly handle only a limited set of very clear issues. Therefore, the demos is assigned a fixed set of 12 clear issues of central importance: 9 economic and 3 electoral.
In a vastly simplified tax system with only 3 tax revenue sources and no exemptions of any kind, the demos has the sole power to tax. The electorate may set tax scales ranging from very flat to steeply progressive.
The 9 economic issues
Overall federal tax rate (which, over time, determines the size of the federal government)
Division of the tax burden among 3 tax revenue sources: corporations and businesses, personal incomes and inheritances.
Corporate and business tax scale
Personal income tax scale
Inheritance tax scale
Hours in the workweek
Amount of federal debt or savings
Portion of federal tax revenue for the military, healthcare, other entitlements and all other government functions
Voting on the 9 economic issues
The demos votes on 5 tax-related and 4 other economic issues, setting and maintaining over time 9 economic values the government and the nation must use as they function. These values are considered as laws, the only laws the electorate makes directly.
The demos does not practice majority-rule democracy but a new kind of democracy of my own design I call consensus democracy.
Consensus democracy achieves the consensus of the entire electorate, not just of the elite, as today, or of the simple majority.
Voting is ongoing, not periodic. Each voter has a lifelong vote riding on each economic issue that the voter may change at any time.
Although the issues are economic, there is no math. The voter simply selects green to increase, yellow to keep as is or red to decrease an economic value.
Every vote always counts. All votes equally affect the demos consensus.
The demos economic consensus avoids all extremes and varies slowly about moderate norms over time, keeping our society functioning smoothly and evolving peacefully as demographics, conditions and our decisions change.
The 3 electoral issues
Election of the president
Election of senators
Election of house representatives
The demos electoral system
The demos has an entirely new electoral system from that which we have today. Primary elections, the Electoral College (which currently elects the president) and state electoral district systems are all scrapped.
The president and all 100 senators are elected from the nation at-large by direct popular vote. Representatives to the house are elected from states at-large.
As with the economic issues, voting is ongoing. Each voter keeps a vote riding on a candidate for president, a senator and a house representative that, with one exception not discussed here, the voter may change at any time.
Any number of people may take any amount of time to run for office for free. And anyone may begin a candidacy at any time.
The top person in the always existing national presidential candidates list, the top 100 people in the senate's national list, and the top people in each state's house list (according to the state's allotment of house seats) are currently seated in office. One stays on the list even while in office and, after an initial protected partial term, stays in office until one's full term is up or one gets bumped by someone that wins a higher rank in the office's list over time.
The free, ongoing, at-large demos electoral system gives all members of the electorate, including the non-wealthy, the means and unlimited time to run for office and to reach out to each other across their entire states or the entire nation in support of their champions, people that resemble them in body, mind, interests and pocketbook and that truly represent them. No one is stuck voting for "lesser evils" financed and therefore preselected by the wealthy as is done today.
Congress automatically demographically resembles and honestly serves the entire electorate. No quota system, political parties or complex electoral schemes are required. People just get to vote for whom they really want.
While voting on the 9 economic and 3 electoral issues is a civic duty, participating in demos deliberations is optional. One may participate as little or as much as one wants.
Each member of the electorate has a private space in which to run for office or simply express views.
Each of the 12 demos issues has its own deliberation area in a public space.
While the demos only makes law on its 9 economic issues, demos members may discuss anything.
Demos deliberations inform our government and nation as to the true and often divided mind and will of the electorate on issues.
A generations-long educational process
In our current plutocracy the elite use vast amounts of money, endless lies in the mass media and emotional "hot button" secondary issues to brainwash millions of politically unsophisticated people into voting against their own electoral and economic interests. Our current system does not even really allow the economic bottom half to vote its true interests.
The demos empowers all members of the electorate to vote their true interests. It makes it possible, in itself a huge improvement over today's dishonest system, but it does not guarantee that they will do so. It will take possibly a generations-long educational process to get everyone, particularly those in the economic bottom half, to actually understand and vote their true interests, most importantly their true economic interests.
The demos gives all members of the electorate the means and unlimited time to work both in the demos and in their neighborhoods and communities to organize and educate friends, neighbors, co-workers and others as to their true electoral and economic interests. Over time, people will become politically streetwise as they learn to turn away from the liars and their distractions and to focus on and vote for their true interests and those that really champion them.
The electorate is firmly in the driver’s seat of our government
These direct economic and electoral powers put the electorate firmly in the driver’s seat of our government and redeem the currently plutocratic ‘representative’ branches by making them truly democratic and representative of the entire electorate as they write laws, rules and policies governing our market economy and all the rest of society, making them honest, inclusive, just and equitable.
This design empowers the electorate to choose how much government and how much private sector it wants. While I personally favor a moderate equitable market economy firmly managed by an honest government that truly rests in the hands of the entire electorate, I do not force what I favor onto the nation. My design empowers our nation (or any nation) to evolve peacefully over time and to explore a vast, always truly democratic, political-economic landscape ranging all the way from unbridled capitalism to full socialism and virtually unlimited moderate variations between them.
Consensus government, as I call it, significantly increases the responsible personal freedom of everyone and the level of cooperation among us. It empowers “we the people,” all of the people, to peacefully and intelligently choose our highest wisdom.
How to bring true democracy to America.
Our government's right function and moral compass require your participation and helmsmanship.
Are you weary of a ruthless capitalism in which the few take everything from everyone else? Are you sick of our dishonest, dysfunctional government that serves the wealthy first and best? You want to turn your back on the whole mess, perhaps return to the land, but at least live simply in small, honest communities? Maybe your thing is urban life with all of its amenities. But keep the government out of it!
Not so fast! Without a strong national umbrella to protect you, the organized beasts of the world would soon crush you like a bug. And without you and the rest of the electorate in the driver's seat, our own government would be one of those beasts, as it already amply demonstrates.
Unfortunately, until we, at long last, evolve into a world without beasts, a strong national government is necessary. And its right function and moral compass require your participation and helmsmanship, however reluctant you may be. You have to help create that world without beasts. No other government design on the planet empowers you to help guide our nation as effectively, conveniently and easily from almost anywhere consuming as few minutes of time per year from your life as does this consensus government design.
It is not the absence of a government but a rightly designed government that maximizes cooperation among us and freedom both in relation to and outside of the government.
Some comments from people that have read Beyond Plutocracy:
…you seem to have hammered the bright point of a world-spanning, evolved consciousness down into the gross material world, where it is needed to shine. A truly impressive achievement.
I am consistently amazed at the cerebral altitude you have obtained, which envelopes so many important details and manages them so well!
…truly original and very thought provoking … extraordinary work…
Brilliant! A breakthrough!
I’ve started reading your book for a second time, and I’ve come to believe that it is one of the most profound works I’ve read in my life.
Thank you for reading this summary.
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© Copyright 2001-2015 Roger D Rothenberger