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The People's Initiative vs. I-1033
The People's Initiative vs. TABOR

I like The People's Initiative! But since I-1033 didn't pass, what would make people change their minds and vote for this?

      —  Posted 2009-12-08, From Elizabeth Scott, Candidate for State Representative

            Edmonds, Washington


I-1033 is a TABOR-style law, and as such it doesn't solve the fundamental problem of unrestrained government growth; it requires inordinate complexity for what it does achieve; and it doesn't have a personal, magnetic appeal to the people. By contrast, the People's Initiative solves the fundamental problem; it is short and straightforward; and it has a personal, magnetic appeal to the people. In addition, The People's Initiative limits only state government. Here's the story.

Solving the problem

The People's Initiative solves the fundamental problem of unrestrained government growth by giving the people control of the ability of the government to take their money. A TABOR-style formula limiting government growth doesn't solve the fundamental problem because there is no objective value for what the limitation should be. It should be whatever the people want it to be since the government serves the people and the people are footing the bill. As a result, under The People's Initiative, the people can lower or raise the ceiling on government income+debt through an initiative process. A TABOR-style law makes no provision for allowing the people to change the rate at which government grows.

Complexity

The People's Initiative is short and straightforward, so people will be able to read it and readily understand it.

Appeal

A TABOR-style law limits government income based on a formula, and this is impersonal, mechanical, and static. By contrast, under The People's Initiative, the solution is personal, flexible, and dynamic.

Under the current system, the people have signed a blank check payable to the government, so under The People's Initiative, they tear up the blank check and replace it with a filled-in check with the ceiling expressed as a fraction of the state GDP or the buying power of the state economy.

Furthermore, the people retain control through an initiative process that enables them to raise or lower the ceiling over time, though I envision that the initiatives will always be for the purpose of lowering the ceiling. The legislature can ask the people to raise or lower the ceiling, as well, and I expect that any such request will be to raise the ceiling.

State government

Following the example of Colorado TABOR, I-1033 applies its formulaic limitation not only to the state government, but also to all county and city governments, as well. By contrast, The People's Initiative limits only state government. The reason is that in pursuing the theme of power for the people, The People's Initiative seeks to set the example for the citizenry of the counties and cities to follow rather than imposing the concept upon the counties and cities through state law.

Summary

The People's Initiative solves the fundamental problem of unrestrained government growth; it is short and straightforward; and it has a personal, magnetic appeal to the people. In addition, The People's Initiative is limited to state government.




My personal stand on the issue is to elect candidates who understand the legitimate role of government to begin with.

      —  Posted 2009-12-08, From Elizabeth Scott, Candidate for State Representative


The insight underlying The People's Initiative reveals that the fundamental problem is not the legislators who are elected. Rather, the fundamental problem is that the citizenry, in effect, hire the government and fund the government, but they have given the government a blank check — the ability of the government to take the people's money without the direct approval of the people. The result is the unrestrained growth of government due to two features.

Spending other people's money

The legislators spend other people's money, namely, the citizenry money, and since the legislators don't earn the money and own the money, they spend it profligately, all the while arguing that they are doing it for the benefit of the people. Since the people earn the money and own the money, the people — and only the people — can possibly have the incentives for proper restraint. Since the people earn the money and own the money, the problem of unrestrained government growth can only be solved by giving the people direct control of the ability of the government to take their money.

Colluding beggars

In the absence of a citizen-controlled ceiling on government income+debt, the legislators are colluding beggars, colluding in trading votes so that each can bring home the bacon to their constituents. Congressional earmarks provide the most notable example of this. This is how legislators serve their constituents. Hence, representative government that lacks a citizen-controlled ceiling provides a system in which legislators will inevitably drive up the cost of government without restraint because this is how they bring home the bacon to serve their constituents.




Good points. I agree that government will always overspend because they are dealing with other peoples' money, and The People's Initiative would return power to the people and impose reasonable spending limits on government.

I think one of the biggest hurdles for this initiative is lack of education. The people of Washington need to ask themselves, "What is the legitimate role of government? That is, what is it supposed to do, and how do we justify taking money by force (taxation) in order for government to provide those services that we want?" Until the electorate realizes that government has no money of its own, they will not understand the need for this initiative.

      —  Posted 2009-12-08, From Elizabeth Scott, Candidate for State Representative


I created the metaphor of tearing up the blank check so that the man and the woman on the street can readily understand the problem in everyday terms that are clear and compelling.

This metaphor also gives us a dramatic expression that should take the tea party followers by storm, namely, tearing up blank checks at rallies and in front of TV cameras. You can see me do this in my July 4 talk posted at www.ThePeoplesAmendment.com. But imagine if everyone at the rally also had a blank check to tear up as I tear up mine on the stage. And imagine a news story showing thousands of people tearing up their blank checks at the same time to wild cheers!

Finally, suppose that this occurs at all of the 2010 rallies on April 15: imagine the powerful impact of innumerable people tearing up their blank checks. I think that it would captivate the people of the nation as it educates them with an unforgettable dramatic message.



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