The 🇺🇸 USA map feedback & balance thread

The tax section for the US probably needs some work.

The top Income Tax rate in the US is 37% (current starting value is 45%), but the effective income tax rate is much lower. The number of loopholes in the US Income Tax system are vast. Estimates for an average effective income tax rate for the US are around 30% (which includes Social Security and Medicare taxes). When trying to factor include an average of taxes from various states (vs federal taxes), maybe 35% is the right number for total income tax.

It’s also important to know that Americans HATE income tax almost universally, and seemingly minor increases will generate dislike from basically the entire population. If the population faced even a moderate level of income tax increase, you would almost surely lose the next election even if you excelled in all other areas.

The Corporate Tax rate in the US is 21%, but this is also complicated, because some large corporations like Amazon end up paying literally nothing in corporate taxes. Some metric like evasion or tax loopholes should be in place from the start to indicate a really serious problem in collecting the Corporate taxes at that rate. One estimate found the effective tax rate at closer to 11%.

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Various tax incentives and programs are represented in D4 as other policies that cost the government tax revenue.

Abortion law is basically on demand in the US, as long as it’s within the first 3 months of pregnancy. Liberals would get very angry way more quickly if this were made more restrictive.

Should the US start with Private Space Industry because SpaceX?

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From what I heard some companies even managed to ultimately pay a negative amount of tax.
And not a small one either.
It paid. Get this. -54.4% in taxes in 2018.

It should, yeah

Yes, I need to tweak private space so that the USA starts with it, but its a super-tricky balance, because weirdly the US R&D budget (in terms of public, not private) is really quite surprisingly low.
I think i should tie it mroe into the military, given that the US space program does get a lot of funding from the military (including spacex). I’ll add this to the todo list

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I haven’t got to play the USA yet, but I think there should be a dilemma around a supporter in Congress pushing for some “pork” for their home district / state. Pork in this case is: … and “This allows delivery of federal funds to the local district or state of the appropriation committee member, often accommodating major campaign contributors”

You would get the option to support it, but maybe increasing corruption (as a proxy for maybe wasteful spending or not allocating resources the most optimal way), or oppose it. Opposing it could make certain voter groups disappointed (dev choice as to what, depending on what is written about maybe).

A different dilemma, could be something like an attack on an US embassy abroad. Perhaps options could be support a “military response”, increasing happiness of patriots (and maybe some other groups) and decreasing liberals and international relations, or a “diplomatic response” decreasing patriot happiness and increasing liberals and international relations. Or something to that affect.

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One could argue that the US R&D spending is so low because it actually is just put under Military Spending instead.
The US really likes the Military and Police to do a lot more each than other states might. For better and for worse.

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I made some notes tonight on the initial starting policies where they are at and ideas for their change.

  • Recommend Armed Police should move to Every Officer Armed

  • Firearm laws should be No Automatics instead of No Machine Guns

  • Tasers should be nearer to common usage instead of rare

  • Tear Gas: Maybe should be closer to medium instead of low

  • Private Prisons might want to be Medium instead of low

  • Narcotics, so its at Legalize Canabis and this is a tricky one because

  • • 11 states have it fully legalized

  • • 16 states have decriminalized it

  • • 33 states (can include above) have it medically legal

  • • Federally it is illegal

  •   ○ I'd say it might need to be lowered
  • Child Benefit should probably be Low to None based on its definition in game

  • State Pensions I think should be much higher than low:

  • Foreign Aid should probably be higher than low

  • I think Work Safety Laws should be to the middle area of High and not medium

Taxing overall is an interesting topic in the US. You pay different amounts of different types of taxes based on what ‘tax bracket’ you fall into, basically how much you earn. It would be interesting to see if that mechanic could be brought into Democracy 4 because I think it is a huge topic in US Politics and can have a huge impact on different groups of people depending on how it is implemented

Thanks for all the great work on this :slight_smile:


Regarding the 2 term limit I think it is important it stay and have a very high cost to change as that would be how it would really be in the US. Two ideas for this

I understand its a core mechanic of D4 right now that a turn is 3 months, my (not thought out much at all) idea if you wanted to stick to the term limit and not ‘shorten’ the game would be maybe to lower it to 1-2 months so there are more turns and opportunities to play.

The other idea is if your party wins the election at your term limit you continue to lead, but there is a transitional period///slow to start period in the next term


That’s precisely what the regular Income Tax models. Though I’ll stand by it needing a progressiveness slider (and in exchange, Flat Tax should disappear since that would be covered by this progressiveness)

The most obvious flaw with the US map is that there aren’t any private schools at the start.

Narcotics Law may need to be lowered a bit.

The US democracy level is maxed while the US is categorized as a flawed democracy:
The issue here may also be the graph. I once read that it’s only a visual representation. Personally I never liked it. It gives a false impresson that things can’t progress or regress further. That graph could be set higher or the graph could be made more dynamic. Some thoughts are that it could zoom out if the line gets near the end or you could move or adjust it manually.
Speaking of democracy the US system makes the people more politically apathic. The votes are based on states and not people and a two party system also have an apathic effect. I’m a little surprised that when I’m at the election only 10 prosent didn’t vote


Another idea for a dilemma:

Members of your family have been accused of profiting off your time in office. You can ignore it, increasing corruption, or you can acknowledge / announce investigation, decreasing corruption.


Voter turnout in the US has historically been about 60% of the eligible voters during a presidential election year, and 40% in a midterm election. These numbers are on the rise though, as the 2018 mid term election saw voter turnout at 51%.

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Death Penalty seems impossible to cancel, even after turning the US into a liberal utopia, popularity for the penalty going down to 19% and having a law and order minister with 97% effectiveness, it still costs 54 political capital to cancel it, which is 12 points above the maximum I have even after winning 99% of the vote repeatedly.

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Voter turnout in the game is decided by the interplay of quite a complex mesh of varaibles. First there is the level of apathy (which I think is a slider under the new game options), then the level of likelihood to vote for each voter, which is partly skewed towards higher for the retired and low for young.
In addition, anyone who joins a political party will ALWAYS vote. Then there is a chance based on how angry or happy people are. If everything is going ok but people have fairly so-so views on the government (ie: not ecstatic, not furious) they may well not vote.
THEN… in addition they are more likely to vote for every dollars spent on campaigning by the party they skew towards, AND the number of activists that a party has also boost turnout chance…

So this was a long way of saying… that the voter turnout really will vary each game depending what you are doing. If voter turnout is super-high, thats a chance that its a very contentious election with strong views. I suspect this US election (this year) will have quite high turnout.

BTW thanks for everyones feedback in this thread. US will get further balancing of course. I’m just having trouble keeping with all the feedback while also working on the game, and wanted to get the USA out there. Jeff is back soon and will help out with more countries :smiley:


How are Trade Unionists represented in the game? On the US map over 20% of the population is one while in reality only about 6% of workers are in a union. I believe that demographic represents people who want better worker rights in the game. Makes sense as the demographic should still be there if unions are illegal.

Interesting note. After WW2, 30% of US workers were in a union. What if union membership were a statistic in the game? It should influence wages and such. However, something that’s plaguing unions today are corruption so I’ve heard

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I like that countries are being added. I hope diverse countries will be included. The starting countries in Democracy 3 may have all been to similar which made countries added by modders harder to implement accurately. Demo3 also felt too US centric.If the development takes different systems and ideology into consideration early the game will be better balances across the nations of the world


I agree with having a good range of nations.

As an example, I would like to see:

Africa: basketcase - Zimbabwe. Potential - Nigeria. Well-run - Botswana
Asia: non-democratic - China. Big and democratic - India.
South America: Venezuela and Argentina

The more the merrier :slight_smile: