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Introducing iGov

by David Kendall and Ethan Porter

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Survey research shows that among Americans who believe they have never received a benefit from a government program, 94% have actually received something. From Veterans to food stamp recipients, Americans have trouble making the connection between the benefits they receive and the government that pays for them. This misperception skews everything from people’s attitude toward government to budget debates.

“Introducing iGov,” an article published by Democracy: A Journal of Ideas’ Ethan Porter and Third Way’s David Kendall, proposes that each citizen have a voluntary, individual account to show what they give and get from the government. They could use their account for all their transactions with the government just as they do with Amazon and other online retailers. It would streamline government and make it more convenient.

iGov is a far-reaching and ambitious idea. We hope it will provoke a debate about how to move the relationship between the federal government and its citizens into the 21st century.

“Introducing iGov” was originally published in the Spring 2012 issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. To read more of the new Democracy issue, including a symposium on citizenship and civic obligation, click here.

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