Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An Economist's Solution to Bad Election Choices...

President Obama's first 100 days are almost over and, as usual, we have evidence that we are a nation that is rapidly devolving over time. From Messrs. Jefferson, Madison, Franklin to Messrs. Obama, Mrs. Clinton and Barney Frank is not what our liberty-loving Founders would have had in mind, but given the existence of universal suffrage it is to be expected that the quality of our "leaders" would deteriorate - and sometimes rapidly - over time.

The problem with our political system is simple. Every person 18 and up - even if they are idiots - get to vote. That makes no sense on numerous levels.

First, how many people from our government schools know anything about our Constitution? How many of them can tell you how long our nation went without an income tax, or what eminent domain is, or what the 'general welfare' clause means?

Without a firm undestanding of our nation's rule book - starting with the fact that we are a republic, not a majority-rule, heavy-handed democracy - how can any one claim that that they are adding value to the electoral process?

Second, under universal suffrage, we have a large segment of the population that uses thier vote to simply plunder the voter next to them. Voting for a living may seem, to our current socialist leaders, to be a perfectly acceptable proposition, but if one looks at the facts our Founders specifically said that no where in the Constitution lies a provision to take the private property of someone who is more productive than you. If I do that as an individual acting on my own I go to jail. If I do it on a Tuesday in November I am considered a good citizen for voting for the thief of my choice.

Third, why should someone who is at home at this moment smoking crack and watching 'American Idol' re-runs get one vote when Bill Gates gets one vote? Gates is far more important to our nation than the crack smoker and yet we have a system where unproductive people can, over time, out number productive people; get organized into voting blocs and push for candidates who pander to their desire to live off of the fruits of other people's labor.

To fix this we need to move away from the 'one person, one vote' nonsense and towards a system that weights your vote on how much you serve your fellow man. Of course, in our somewhat free market economy the way we measure your service is on how much money you create (earn) every year. Thus, a superior voting system would have a person bring a copy of their tax returns to the polling place on election day with a bar code that can be scanned. What would be scanned? The person's gross income (since net is simply a function of government's ability to steal property).

If you have a gross income of $33,529, that is how many times your vote for President, Senator, whatever, would count. If you served your fellow man to the tune of $23 million, you would get 23 million votes.

To make this system more efficient, any income you earned from government subsidies, bailouts, welfare, etc. would be excluded.

Yes, I am aware of the fact that people like Sean Penn, Ben Affleck and other rich, but Consitutionally ignorant people would get a lot of votes. But so would a lot more business men and women who don't vote for liberal socialists like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. They also don't vote for people like liberal-Republican John McCain.

They do vote for people like Ron Paul, Ronald Reagan and Lady Thatcher.

In other words, they vote for people who respect their right to earn and keep private property.

That, my friends, is what all of us who work need in Washington, D.C.


  1. I am sorry Professor but I respectfully disagree. I understand the harm that universal suffrage brings and I do agree that everyone 18 and up should not be allowed to vote, but to base the number of votes each person gets on the amount of income they earn assumes that the richest people are the ones most knowledgeable about the constitution. The problem with universal suffrage is not that people earning different sums of money get the same amount of say but people who understand the rulebook better than others are treated equally as others. In the essay ‘Not Yours to Give’ I did not get the impression that Mr. Horatio Bunce was a very rich man but there is no doubt that he had more knowledge about the constitution than Mr. Crockett himself. Should his vote count far less than some other rich successful businessman? I think a far better system vote be to have a test. Just like we have to take a test before we get our driver’s license, we should be tested on our knowledge of the constitution before receiving our voter registration card. We can do the same barcode thing on each card which can keep track of our score. The higher score you have the more your vote counts. This could also encourage some people to gain a better understanding of the rule book our founders left us if they want to have more say in the way our country functions. As people start paying more attention to our constitution maybe we can go back to being the nation the founders dreamed of.

  2. Wow, I used to think that we the people meant all of us as a collective conscience, but as I have become older I have realized that this is a subject that holds a lot of merit. And also shows how little people understand the Government. “I say that because I have heard so many people talk about the popular vote like it is the deciding factor, when it is the Electoral College that makes the decision. “ And it is not just because of that crack smoker who is watching American Idle; "We the people" now stands for “Us peoples against those others who are not entelegent like us is.” We have become a country of self servant Voters who do not see the people they are voting for as the people they have investigated, no, now it is about what they say not what they have done or their ability to have shown great leadership abilities like the ones listed. And because of that, I could not agree more with the article in regards to wealth getting a bigger vote. But, that would also open the door for the Plutocracy and or the Oligarchy to have all of the say in what goes on by strangling the poor even more so as to give them less of a say in the political circles "sounds a lot to me like the formation of a monarchy." And that worked great for the French and Russian monarchies as they took more and more away from the common man in favor of their own arrogant viewpoints. No, that is not the answer. However, it is a perception that with some tweaking could render positive results in the form of positive change. I say, if we are going to start giving more votes to those that matter, then maybe we should give those of higher Education more clout in their vote also. After all, most rich people got that way by being self servants, and that will without a doubt spill over to the governing body "after all look at the damage that Lobbyists have done in the past as a club for the wealthy." And also, give more voting power to those who volunteer community service time to help the community as a whole. Give special voting rights to those that make a change for the better, and those that understand and "can tell you how long our nation went without an income tax, or what eminent domain is, or what the 'general welfare' clause means?" The real problem is that stupid people get just as much say as the smart. And there are a growing number of ignorant people in America. At a certain time in our future, we the capable, intelligent, smart and hard working may even have to leave America to start a new Nation like our for Fathers did before us. We may not have but a single choice, that being to escape so that those that can see the bigger picture can once again have the ability to lead, stand strong, and be a part of another greater Country better than the one before. Only this time, let’s show our intellect and ability by learning from our past mistakes, while once again trying to show how intellect, drive and responsibility can flourish. “We the People” may be like a plant that has grown too big for its planter, maybe we need to transplant ourselves into a place that we can once again spread our roots and ideals. As History has shown in the past, All great Civilizations rise flourish and then fall. Only this time, lets rise up like a Phoenix, rather than fall like Rome.

  3. While it is true that being a high-earner does not mean you know anything abo;ut our Constitution, it does mean you have a much higher probability of being a person who is doing what our Founders desired. You are serving, not stealing, therefore we would still be more likely to have the top 10-20% of the nation determining who our elected officials would be. Those 10-20% are going to vote for those who allow all of us to get rich rather than for redistributors of our wealth, national health care, high income taxes, etc.

  4. Having knowledge of the constitution, does not guarantee that you support ideas of liberty and freedom. I'm sure that legislators that propose bills to increase the government's power to declare imminent domain, stimulus packages, bailout payments, how to raise our own children, etc., are very knowledgeable of the constitution. In fact, they write laws to remove property from more "efficient" citizens, to those who really "deserve" it. You don't need a doctorate or a degree in law, economics or even political science to understand the concepts of responsibility, hard work, and property ownership. More successful citizens who are aware of how their hard work is rewarded, by no means want to be punished by having their efforts be taken away from them. They may not understand filibustering, cases in the court of appeals, or who becomes the President, in absence of both President and Vice-President, but they do know that less money for your hard work is not what our founding fathers wanted, even if they can't name who are founding fathers were.

    This also encourages freedom-supporting citizens who are less fortunate in earning higher incomes to allow laws that promote private property. Me being a non-high income earner, would like to earn one in the future. However, I would not want to find out that once I earn such higher income, after a lot of hard work, would have to give a higher percentage in taxes. Right now, we have a system that discourages citizens for climbing the "tax bracket" ladder. If there were none, we would just worry about making money, without having to weigh our efforts against the government earnings.

  5. I don't object to having votes correlate with substance (perhaps having your votes count more if you have a working knowledge of American History and contemporary politics), but I don't know if putting a monetary value on votes is a good idea. That doesn't necessarily equate better government. For instance, most of the candidates who win elections aren't necessarily those who win the most popular votes, but those who are financed the best. In return, there are campaign promises. If we put a monetary value on votes, what's to stop a plutocratic oligarchy from forming, where there's a quid pro quo between politicians and businesses, even moreso than there is now?

  6. I wrote a rant against universal suffrage on my political blog (mostlylibertarian.blogspot.com) a few weeks ago. I wholeheartedly agree that it is among the worst systems in our government today. I also agree that income should be a huge factor in voting, but it might also help to have some kind of test much like an immigrant must take to receive citizenship. Obviously there is not perfect system, but it would be really nice to have some accountability and no more Bushes or Obamas.

  7. If the rich have more voting power, what's to keep them from exploiting the poor? Certainly not their conscience... it could become like the bourgeoisie in France.
    I like the concept of money=votes, to keep ignorant people from having say in matters they know nothing about, but we could end up in a drastically polarized society, in which it would be nearly impossible for the poor to get their feet under them...