How can citizens vote on deficit spending and paying back when it comes to government programs? Including who pays more taxes and where that money goes.

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    The US doesn't have that many direct democracy features. Maybe in Switzerland this would be possible. Determining taxes and public spending is the right of the US Congress, even though it's your money. Commented May 18, 2023 at 6:05
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    Stage a revolution and rewrite the constitution? Q is too vague, answers could be anything including that. Commented May 18, 2023 at 9:20

1 Answer 1



Vote against the congress members that support programs you think are wasting money. If enough people agree with your opinion, they will be voted out of power.

Of course, maybe not everyone will agree with your spending priorities, or your opinions on which programs should be shut down so those politicians and their programs will remain in place. That's what a democracy is.

We've had questions about citizen by citizen input on budget line items (I want X for defense, Y for pensions, etc). This was a naming question and the answer was that it would be a form of direct democracy.

Thing is, the US government is not, constitutionally, set up that way. Budget authority lies with Congress, with the possibility of POTUS vetos (IIRC there was a law a while back about a line by line rejection capacity by POTUS, but that was dismissed as unconstitutional) .

You also want to look at the distinction between discretionary and mandatory spending. Without change in laws, your question only applies to the first part, which about 1/3 of Fed spending, and which is itself is about equal Defense/Non-Defense:

Mandatory spending, also known as direct spending, is mandated by existing laws. This type of spending includes funding for entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security and other payments to people, businesses, and state and local governments.

Once you the mandatory items out, as well as Defense spending - cuz no Republican politician will vote for a DoD haircut - you are left with a much smaller pie of discretionary budget to argue about (about 1/6th of total Fed spending if my math is correct).

In fact, Federal Spending | U.S. Treasury Fiscal Data

Mandatory spending represents nearly two-thirds of annual federal spending. This type of spending does not require an annual vote by Congress.

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