By Vaughn Hoisington | USA
When George Washington was first elected President of the United States, he declined the large salary the United States Congress offered him, but after careful thought and recommendation from Congress, Washington accepted the salary. How would history have changed if George Washington had stuck with his gut and declined the payment? Could politicians denying payment be a way to solve government corruption or an enabler for the rich?
It can only be speculated how other Presidents would have acted, but it seems reasonable to believe that a majority of them would have attempted to be like Washington. For instance, even without a standard of payment refusal, there have still been Presidents who either donated their salary or accepted a lot less than the encouraged amount. The main reason George Washington accepted the proposed salary was due to the fact that he had to set the standard for every future President; he didn’t want it to be perceived that only rich people without any need for the salary could be elected.
The belief that the wealthy would dominate a voluntary government is one of the main opposing arguments against the idea. Some believe that voluntary officials would be more easily bribed by corporations since they would be lacking any form of payment for their work. Although these are valid arguments, it can be seen that the accusations aren’t clearly tied to a government full of volunteers; the U.S. Government officials receive payment and still tend to be well-off individuals.
Although a voluntary government could be more easily run by upper-class individuals who have amassed more wealth than those that have to work a full-time job, it is a possible way to make sure officials truly put their citizens first, rather than their salary. If executed correctly, it would excessively lower the amount of greedy politicians getting rich off of taxpayer dollars. Governing would be more difficult for Congressmen that have to work, but this would make congressional hearings short and to the point. Their hours wouldn’t be squandered on pointless bills that aim to waste taxpayer dollars while limiting those same taxpayers’ rights.
Removing the standard of paying government officials could be seen as a way to remove government corruption and greedy politicians from leadership positions. Electing those who volunteer for their positions is a definite possibility in limiting government. Could leaders working for free be the next step for freedom?