2008 November 03 Monday
Restrict Voting Rights To Net Taxpayers?

Roissy argues that the voting privilege should be restricted to people who pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits. I agree. But how to get such a change implemented?

Voting is a useless exercise. Your one vote will not change the result of a national election. Get over yourself.

If you wear an “I voted” sticker tomorrow, you are a status whore. And you can be bought cheap.

I support limiting the right to vote to net taxpayers and taking it away from net tax-recipients.

How to get such a change in the voting privilege implemented when the net tax recipients probably outnumber the net taxpayers?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 November 03 11:19 PM  Politics Voting

James Bowery said at November 4, 2008 9:10 AM:

This is a bad idea for the same reason that not all customers have voting shares.

Anonymous said at November 4, 2008 9:56 AM:

Instead of removing the vote, one could try offering $100 to confirmed non-voters.

Stephen said at November 4, 2008 2:52 PM:

A really bad idea made worse by inefficient implementation.

If you really want to disenfranchise people based on financial capacity just introduce a poll tax - something like $10,000 to gain admittance to a polling booth. A simple and revenue positive poll tax effectively restricts suffrage to those who are worthy - the upper classes, the nouveau riche, merchant bankers and cocaine traffickers.

Steven said at November 4, 2008 3:31 PM:

Just showing that you are not dependent on government largesse for your livelihood should be good enough to vote. Voting yourself more benefits is decadent.

At the very least deny the vote to any multi-generational welfare recipient. One generation may be a fluke. But multi-generational welfare recipients are bad seed that should not be allowed to pollute the electorate with their loser mentality.

Rick Darby said at November 4, 2008 4:41 PM:

One generation may be a fluke. But multi-generational welfare recipients are bad seed that should not be allowed to pollute the electorate with their loser mentality.

Thanks, Steven! A wonderful paraphrase of Oscar Wilde:

"To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."

tommy shanks said at November 4, 2008 11:02 PM:

Anyone who enrolls in government healthcare should lose the right to vote. It can't be cost-free. If Democrats insist on enacting socialized medicine, then Republicans should make this demand. Then maybe Democrats won't be so interested in socialized medicine anymore.

Restricting the franchise should be the Republican demand for every new program. Then we can talk about restricting the franchise for those receiving existing benefits.

HellKaiserRyo said at November 5, 2008 12:02 AM:

Actually, the main reason I supported Obama because he would appoint judges that would oppose such a proposal. (I am not significantly optimistic about him in other regards.)

In retrospect Randall, do you think the downsides for Obama are larger? I suppose when you (not me) do the calculus, Obama is the worse candidate.

Any if you want to enact a eugenics policy without resorting to speculative technologies or overt coercion, encourage the incompetent to be like hikikomori.

Bob Badour said at November 5, 2008 12:09 PM:

The sad truth is the dyslexic dummies are going read Randall's title as "Voting To Restrict Net Taxpayers' Rights?" and then think it is a wonderful idea.

Shank said at November 5, 2008 1:06 PM:

People who live off government checks are starting to outnumber taxpayers. If parasites can vote and also outnumber productive persons, the growth of government can approach what we're going to see with Obama, Reid, and Palosi. How do you stop that steamroller of a bloodsucking movement?

Worried dude said at November 5, 2008 2:52 PM:

I recall Jerry Pournelle wrote some SciFi books that looked at these issues.

Only citizens could vote, and the great unwashed who lived in welfare enclaves could not vote. However, I think he had the dynamic wrong.

As skank says, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy ... until the net contributors rebel and stop contributing.

Randall Parker said at November 5, 2008 5:28 PM:


Certainly Obama will take more of my money.

Eugenics: I think we should start by offering money for sterilization to drug addicts that have babies. Then move on to offering money to child abusers to get sterilized. Then offer money to prisoners to get sterilized.

Bubba said at November 5, 2008 10:08 PM:

Can't we just have a basic damned intelligence/civics test? 10 math questions (basic algebra), 10 science questions, 20 civics questions. That would pretty much do the trick, and it would actually encourage something good: education. And it has as much chance of passage as your scheme: absolutely none.

The USA as configured is a dead experiment. We're just marking time until something new comes along.

obrien aka birch barlow said at November 6, 2008 7:58 AM:

What America needs is "a system which eliminates the upper class, keeps the working class in its place, and hands unlimited power to people very similar to themselves [the upper middle class or cognetive elite]." In the long run I don't see any other solution. Fundie 75-100-IQ whites, poor Mestizos and poor blacks should not be anywhere near the reins of power. Unfortunately the Right tends to idealize the former, and the Left the latter (and neocons, scarily and idiotically, often idealize ALL of the above groups). A clear-thinking person should realize that there is nothing to be idealized about *ANY* of these groups. Given the choice between the above groups, I say "NONE OF THE ABOVE."

as said at November 6, 2008 8:46 AM:

Wouldn't you really have to "start over" afresh? Create a new country. Restrict immigration to above average people. Then actually, you wouldn't need a welfare state, but you could then restrict the franchise to property owners and net tax payers.

Randall Parker said at November 6, 2008 5:14 PM:


I agree that America has failed. The forces at work that are going to tear it down are now well entrenched. The demographic disasters can't be reversed short of a civil war. So I now wonder: Will there be a civil war? Or will we just decay?

Is there some way short of civil war to pull back the right to vote from people too dumb to have a clue? Or does the government just become a massive Robin Hood system of steal from the productive to give to the growing mass of unproductive?

The only eventual reversal I see coming will be the result of offspring genetic engineering. But initially offspring genetic engineering will widen the chasm between the smarter and dumber as the smarter folks embrace it first.

obrien aka birch barlow,

So then you are partially coming out from behind a pseudonym?

casusbelli said at November 6, 2008 6:44 PM:

Some pretty good comments here.
Yes, I think a system where folks with nothing to lose have the same political rights (one vote) as those with much at stake pretty much stinks. I prefer the 19th century English system where only the landed/property owners could vote.
Another observation: I stood in line on tuesday behind some immigrants chatting away in some other tongue, holding their precinct cards, probably first-time voters. Now I'm no xenophobe, but hear me out. My wife's great-grandfather fought in the Civil War. My great-great one did. Her father flew the Hump in WWII. My grandfather was in WWI's trenches. All the male ancestors worked their asses off physically building this country. Now, is it fair that these brand-new citizens have the exact political leverage that we do? Did those ancestors (and yours) sweat, bleed, cry and pray, only to have "newbies" usurp the will of their descendents (first-time voters help put BHO over-the-top)? I dunno. But I do know universal suffrage is not fair.

obrien said at November 7, 2008 12:21 PM:

So then you are partially coming out from behind a pseudonym?

Nope, just changing it. The name O'Brien comes from the villain in 1984, mostly because I have become increasingly sympathetic to soft totalitarianism...ie, disenfranchising the poor while (partially) dispossessing the super-rich (those making above, say, $750K-1M a year as singles or the equivalent in a married couple), and at the same time giving enormous power to the cognitive elite. Also I believe in stiff inheritance taxes for liquid assets over say, $2M. Really I do not believe people "earn" $10M a year, unless they are major contributors to some kind of scientific or technological breakthrough.

I would almost certainly prefer America becoming a more materially comfortable 1984-like society to a corrupt state ruled by a hodgepodge of the poor/uneducated white/religious rightie masses, uneducated Mestizos and blacks, corrupt corporate executives making eight figures, phony suckup politicians, and other bloodsuckers. On a related note, it is scary to think that the Nazis, Soviets, and Imperial Japanese may very well have been more enlightened on drug use than the vast majority of Americans today (again I think the religious right, which was crushed in all the above societies, has a lot to do with this).

Not that I am not somewhat of a bloodsucker right now, but I find it disgusting and something I want to change, rather than something to be proud of. There's a reason I support high-IQ, mostly East Asian immigration rather than bringing a ton of alcoholics of largely NW European ancestry. I really wish more struggling people would understand that it is manifestly NOT in their interests to bring in tens of millions of people like themselves, nor to raise taxes recklessly (especially sales taxes--WTF are poor people thinking?) or pass a bunch of bond measures when the govt is already flat broke. Even if your highest ambition in life is to be on welfare and possibly work an unskilled job, where the hell do you think all the money and services are coming from?

clayton said at November 8, 2008 8:38 AM:

If the rich could be bothered to read this blog they would laugh their ass off. Divide and conquer is not just a saying it is in action. I should really look it up to get my facts right, but in less than 40 years the top 10% went from owning 40 of the wealth to 95%. They have bought and sold politicians so as to hoard their wealth. Their is no benefit to the US in having class of super rich. Millionaires and etc, sure fine. The way our founding fathers set up the system was to prevent another age of kings. If you don't like it move back to england and fall in love with the idea that 1 person can own everything. Because that is where we are headed.

In regards to the notion that the poor are sucking the life out of our country. the poor are just pawns, along with the middle class. how does it feel to be played?

averros said at November 8, 2008 3:52 PM:

> I support limiting the right to vote to net taxpayers and taking it away from net tax-recipients.

That'd be a nice first step.

However, I support limiting voting to nobody. Voting is always a sort of advance auction of stolen goods.

Randall Parker said at November 9, 2008 12:37 PM:


So then do you support the abolition of government? Or do you propose some other way to select government leaders?

BTW, your support for open borders increases the number of people who will vote for higher taxes.

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