Giving money to the government as it currently stands for an explicit purpose is foolhardy. I make this statement in reference to the GoFundMe started last week with the intention of funding a wall on the southern border. At the beginning of my writing, the GoFundMe had raised $13,694,969 from 224,433 people. The goal is $1 billion, nearly 18% of what the Trump administration requested for construction to avoid and now end the government shutdown.
The argument in favor of the government being funded by GoFundMe (or similar method) is sound. The people directly appropriate funds to agencies and projects allowing them to minimize waste. As they assign each dollar to every department, you can bet there would be a keen eye on both necessity and efficiency. The federal government would no longer be viewed as a source of unlimited cash but instead, funded directly by the people. Want a wall? Donate. Want to fund Planned Parenthood? Donate. No one is forced at gunpoint to participate in projects they don’t like. Such action would often take the government out of the equation entirely; they don’t have to fund Planned Parenthood when private citizens are doing it themselves. Government is necessarily involved when building a border wall. Herein lies the problem with our current setup.
Anyone can donate to the government. What they cannot do is decide what that money is used for excepting debt payment. This is because the government appropriates the money as it sees fit. What will happen when a GoFundMe account donates to the general fund with a note saying, “build that wall”? Likely nothing or, at least, not what the participants intended.
The argument for a GoFundMe now is that it is a demonstration. As the number of people donating to the cause increase we will put the legislative branch on notice we want their campaign promises kept. The problem is the wall was the near entirety of Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump, the head of the Republican Party which held both houses of congress still did not get funding for the wall. And yet, they are still running a $830 billion deficit which indicates it’s not an issue of funding but politics. Trump won 63 million votes, significantly more than the current motley 224,982. If the electorate’s support of Trump’s border wall platform bore no fruit, why give money to the party who has already shown its inability to fulfill its promises? Not to mention the fact the Republican House was flipped in 2018.
Is a GoFundMe government bad? Not at all. Is it worth anyone’s time or money now? No. Even assuming they raise their goal and send it to the government all they will achieve is reducing the deficit or allowing the government to allocate funds somewhere else. If you are in favor of reduced government, this is not to your interest. If you believe it to be a demonstration people will voluntarily give money to those projects they want, I respect your intentions; I just don’t believe it will lead to any meaningful change. At least not until we have politicians who are brave enough to push for change.