Issue #24, Spring 2012

Introducing iGov

Even people who support government dread having actual encounters with it. Things don’t have to be that way.

As iGov takes hold at the federal level, it will be critical for state governments to join in as well. After all, the states distribute many federal benefits such as food stamps and health care for the poor and disabled. It seems plausible, if not likely, that the states would offer their own versions. In, say, one or two decades’ time, come April 15, you’d know not only where your tax money was going—you’d know in what form it was coming back. If you had a question about Social Security, you could speak with a representative online. While paying off your student loan, you could examine the way in which federal money benefited your community. And as the states take up iGov, perhaps it would be possible to shorten the dreaded DMV wait time by instituting an online appointment process, similar to that found in Apple stores (indeed, some state DMVs have started doing this). Above all, no matter where you fell on the ideological spectrum, you’d have a better idea of that shared project, the national government.

We don’t live in the Age of Roosevelt anymore, when the White House could send its agents to help local families get by. We do, however, live in a period when modern technology has made information ubiquitous and ever more accessible. Making use of these innovations, today’s federal government could adopt a human face for the digital age.


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Issue #24, Spring 2012
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Kent Smith:

It an excellent concept. Sure you've sketched one or more possible structures and layouts for the web site. Could we see them?

Mar 12, 2012, 11:03 PM

"...even the majority of those who receive direct cash benefits from the government, in the forms of Social Security and unemployment, do not know to identify the government as the source of those benefits."

Maybe they know more than you do...that the source of those benefits is taxpayers, not government.

Mar 16, 2012, 11:02 PM

Is the antipathy toward government real or imagined?

Sure, everyone has had some bad experiences - waiting hours for a driver's license or being dunned to pay for something incomprehensible. But honestly haven't we had similar experiences with the private sector?

It seems to me we should consider whether our negative attitudes toward government have come not so much from these experiences but rather from a concerted propaganda attack on government. Did not these attitudes begin when our President Reagan told us that the government (which he headed) was our enemy?

May 20, 2012, 8:02 AM

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