YouCut: another stunt showing that the GOP has run out of ideas (Eric Cantor)
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A week ago, GOP House Whip Eric Cantor launched "YouCut" (republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut), an attempt to show that the GOP is serious about spending. Except, it's just another tea parties-style cheap stunt:
1. It allows people to vote for the minor programs that they want to cut, and the GOP will introduce a measure to eliminate the top vote getter. Thus, this is yet another example of popular voting systems. See the link for how those don't work, with past examples.
2. How are non-specialists supposed to determine whether a program deserves to be cut? How are they supposed to determine whether a program is a complete waste or whether it has a benefit that outweighs its costs? Just from the GOP's description, which has not been independently verified? Just from the name? One of the ideas behind representative democracy is that experts will be able to make better decisions about whether a program is effective or not; Cantor is going in the opposite direction.
3. All the cuts in the first round of voting added up to 0.017% of the federal budget . Any cuts the GOP would make (if their resolutions ever get the votes, which isn't clear) would just be ceremonial.
4. The top vote getter in the first round was the "Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund", which was described by the GOP as a "backdoor way" to rollback welfare reforms. Is ThinkProgress correct  about that program being worth its keep, or is that program abused? You can't trust either the GOP or ThinkProgress to tell you the truth, and the only way to decide is to review it in depth and have completely open debates about it. Instead, the GOP just gave it a potentially misleading description and let people vote on it without knowing much about it.
On an ironic sidenote vis-a-vis the GOP's attempt at direct democracy, the Twitter block on the Youcut page doesn't show all tweets sent to #YouCut or @GOPWhip. Instead, it only shows the favorites of the shadow Twitter user @HillHoopla. Can't have posts like this show up on the Youcut page, now can we?