A good question is...why don't we as taxpayers have a line item veto.

In fact, I think I've proposed at one point that we should get to go online, and be able to select how we want our tax dollars allocated...55% for defense, 35% education...and so on.

Why not?
So in the matter of your money or your life, the government is more concerned with collecting your money.
@2, "why not" is because Congress is made up of old technophobes.
That's a much better analogy.

Speaking as a Quaker, I'd like to think our objection to waging wars has a much stronger moral basis than anyone's objection to other people's sex lives, family planning, personal autonomy, and sexual health needs.
@5 Speaking as a non-Quaker, I would like to think so too!
@2. Oh you proposed that, did you? Who did you propose it to, and how did your proposal go over? Were there extensive hearings? Is it still in the deliberation phase?
Serendipity moment: As I started reading this post my podcast app started playing Kevin Cole's latest KEXP podcast, and he started with a track by the band Rumspringa.
Isn't this where the whole ambiguous "render unto Ceasar" stuff comes in?
Exactly. The Constitution guarantees your right to practice your religion, but not your right to practice your religion ON other people (alas, children don't count as people).
That is a better analogy and also seems in sync with libertarian thinking.
@2 "A good question is...why don't we as taxpayers have a line item veto."

Good in what way? It is poorly formatted, badly worded, improperly punctuated, and implies an ignorance so deep that we might never here the thump of a thought thrown into such a chasm reaching it's depths.

What metrics would you use to determine your personal utility of a school lunch program? Clearly, as a future Social Security recipient, getting these ignorant kids geared up to generate the wealth that will be taxed for your benefits, but how much is your personal contribution?

Similarly, it will be much easier to fund law enforcement than social programs, but it is so much cheaper and more effective to treat homelessness and substance abuse as social issues than as crimes.

What happens when a budget item is over or underfunded?

I doubt anyone will want to pay for debt servicing, but with multi-year projects and suddenly unfunded or underfunded sectors, I imagine this item will rapidly expand.

It's bad enough our representatives misapprehend, misrepresent or miscommunicate the utility and values of various programs. This would be simply untenable.
The Catholic Church can never reconcile itself to a "modern, complex society" when it is stuck in a fourth century world of myths and superstitions. And they should never, ever be allowed to drag others into their little world with them by use of the government.
Goldy - Good analogy. Well said.

Because we all live here together
Because we are not individuals in regard to governing, but part of the whole
Because we vote for our representatives and expect them to represent our view, balanced with our neighbors’ views
Because once paid to the government, we give up individual control of our portion of the taxes and deal with the pool of money as a whole
Because we live in a representative democracy, not a direct democracy
Terrible idea.

Direct democracy leaves us with the tyranny of the majority. Not good at all.
@6 Thank you.

Let me just add, in case it wasn't obvious, that I'm deeply offended by any people trying to rule other people's sex lives, family planning, personal autonomy, and sexual health needs.

My understanding of Quaker Faith and Practice puts the basis for both nonviolence, and respect for others' autonomy, in our belief that as we were all created by God (however you wish to envision or name Him, Her, Them, It, Nature, Chaos, the Universe, All The Fish, FSM, 42, or Whatever), then we all have "That of God" within us, and in that way are equal and requiring of respect. You shouldn't kill or commit violence against others, nor should you assume that they are not your equal, entitled to make their own moral decisions and live their own lives.
Yeah, @2, the whole point of the system we've been living under for over two centuries is not just to prevent despotic tyranny by leaders, but to keep in check the irrational whims of "pure democracy," which I think a tax-payers' line item veto would do.

Just think-- would you want your average Walmart cashier, 18-year old juggalo, or internet comments section troll deciding whether or not the NIH should get 3 million dollars for fruit fly research?


Does talking to myself while on the Sounder count?

I don't get why an anti-war philosophy doesn't mean shit unless you claim it as part of your religion, then it exempts you from the draft.
@2 Because we're a Constitutional Republic, and our state follows that same path.…

Direct democracy is a terrible idea, as much as even I would like to see it happen sometimes.
Barbara Ehrenreich had a good answer to this question back in the 1980's. To rightwingers who object to social spending but can't see any such thing as too much spending on defense, she said (and I'm paraphrasing), "How about this: your taxes can go toward $600 toilet seats for the Pentagon, while our taxes go toward making sure nobody starves to death. Everybody's happy."
@13: You should register. That was mighty fine reasoning and more people should get to see it.
to live in our complex modern society

Which is what they don't want us living in.
The problem with the "tax payer line item veto" as I see it is not so much that it would lead to direct democracy - there already are lots of elements of direct democracy in the US at play - but that it would result in a type of 'census suffrage' where the rich have a lot more power.
Plus a whole bunch of practical problems that others have mentioned already...
Good, Goldy, but and EVEN BETTER analogy would be if Quaker business owners refused to let their employees who serve in the National Guard leave for combat duty without firing/replacing them while they're gone.

On moral, religious first amendment grounds, of course.
@11: Actually, you don't even always have the right to impose your religion on your children. There have been numerous cases where courts have forced medical treatment on the children of Christian Scientists.
Conscientious Objector status is available to anyone with a moral opposition to war. As far as I know, ti isn't automatic for us Quakers. Plenty of Quakers have been arrested for draft dodging.

It gets more complicated when you look at someone who enlist in the military then has a change of heart regarding their moral beliefs. CO status is independent of religion for those who are civilians at the time they get it, but for those already enlisted the bar is a bit higher. Not only do you have to realize that war is wrong, you ALSO have to have a sudden life-changing religious experience. Long contemplation doesn't count.
Not being in a combat role doesn't mean they don't shoot at you while you act as a medic or clearing land mines.

Something Mittens Romney and his combat-avoiding healthy sons will never know.
@26 At the risk of speaking for other Quakers, and with the disclaimer that I'm pretty new at this and neither steeped in the tradition nor knowledgeable in all the discussions of this matter, this doesn't sound very Quakerly to me. Individual conscience is about what I do, myself. What you do yourself is your individual conscience. The decisions of how to serve your community, maintain your integrity, promote equality and promote peace are decisions that every person must make for themselves. The issue of paying taxes to support war is, at root, an individual issue, not one of telling others how to live or behave.

But, as Goldy notes, we don't have that right. Even if we are willing to go to jail over the issue, the government can (and does) simply seize our assets anyway.
@13 is full of win. This is my favorite: "implies an ignorance so deep that we might never here the thump of a thought thrown into such a chasm reaching it's depths."
Goldy, there is no reasoning that is possible here, because the other side is not interested in reason, they are interested in power. Their response to a challenge to power is self-centered rage. The only way to win the "debate" is to get a majority in each house of Congress and implement your preferred policies with a smile, and a "gosh, too bad the other side just doesn't seem to get it." Think Ronald Reagan v. Jimmy Carter.
@20 CO status doesn't prevent you from being drafted either. During WWII many CO's were drafted, some went to prison, but others were assigned non-combatant stations such as working in mental hospitals at home, working on bomb disposal, and late in the war, aiding in starvation studies intended to help understand how to aid relief efforts
@31: I know right? Such pretty writing!
Well, yeah, Goldy, this analogy does work better.

Still, why do you think you need to "take a swing at" Quakers here? Once again, you're singling out a religious group that actually has shown the ability to play reasonably well with others. Pbbbbt!
@35... um... it was joke? (Hint: I don't actually take a swing at Quakers, now do I?)
When did the legal basis for a woman's right to 'abortion' ie.the right to privacy pertaining to her body, morph into a right to demand others to participate in what the scientific world agrees is the termination of a human being? One of the mechanisms of the 'morning after' pill , one of the functions the 'morning after' pill is designed to do to make it impossible for the fertilized egg, zygote, ( human being by all scientific definition) attatch to the uterus. So the human being dies. As I understand it,the rulings by the courts have never said a woman has a right to kill the human being....only that she has a right to privacy. They never got far enough to rule on the abortion part .The abortion question was never addressed and it's moot....../as long as the action is private. Just in case someone is tempted to suggest women are prescribed this pill for medical reasons other than the termination of a human life (even as a last resort), ;please know the Church has not spoken out against the use of the pill for those reasons. Also, the Catholic Church can hardly be legitimately referred to as a 'little world'. You show your ignorance by that remark alone.
@37 It is so refreshing to see someone actually describe the mechanism by which the morning after pill works, while opposing it. I really want to bask in this moment for a while, because usually one is just given a heaping soft-serve spew of bullshit, often with sprinkles.

That done, I do not see how your logic holds, as in the case of the morning after pill you're describing, the woman is simply forcing this supposed "person" to occupy a space other than inside her. As noted jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., points out the zygotes right to swing fists it has not developed, end at the other side of the not yet pregnant woman's nose. That it may die, is lamentable, but it is certainly a hallmark of current Republican thought that it is not incumbent upon any individual to help this supposed "person" pull itself up by its own bootstraps, which it frankly it should of purchased by now, perhaps with funds from it's school janitorial job.
You should all read Humane Vitae by Pope Paul VI. Christianity condemned the use of contraception up to the 1930's when the Anglicans first allowed it. Now the Anglicans are returning to the Church.
You should also consider that the Vatican Library is the greatest in the world, not only of spiritual and ecclesia documents, but its contribution to the world of the arts and music, science, mathematics, genetics--the latter accomplished by priests and monks who gave their all to the service of God and mankind.
The Catholic Church was the first to provide higher education for people, provide hospitals serving all. In times past, bishops would call on all believers to risk their very own lives to nurse those dying of plague on the streets. Mexico was the center of learning in the New World, its universities of the 1500's having Native Indian professors and women and girls being given the right to an education 300 years before North American women were.
Our devotion to the Blessed Mother goes back to ancient times as well as our form of liturgy, the selection of the books of the Bible that would reach the heart of all people universally, our episcopal form of church governance, and the Creed....all developed by 100 AD and practiced throughout the Christian world at that time.
People hear and see disinformation and stereotypes. 95% of the clergy is excellent, and the 5 % who committed abuse was horrendous, but cannot even been seen on the map in comparing the abuse that exists towards the innocent by the secular world that has no transcendent values, morals or God.
You will never find perfection in any human institution, including the Church. It is a mother and guide but not God Himself.
The issue is not religion or church, but a narcissistic and most abusive entity that has penetrated all our social institutions.
The difference between being forced to pay taxes that finance war, and being forced to BUY birth control for others, is obvious.

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