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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