“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Voting & The Tipping Point: Transfer Payments Outstrip Wages

Back in November of 2008 I wrote this post concerning the notion of voter eligibility. It's actually one of my most popular ones, judging by Sitemeter's referral data. It's a topic that often raises images of Jim Crow laws, police with fire hoses, and unfair, overly-complicated literacy tests in the Deep South before 1970.

However, a report out this week that transfer payment income has now outstripped wage income in the US caused me to think that it's time to write another post on the topic of voter eligibility. Earlier, I suggested that if you don't pay taxes at local, state or federal level, you shouldn't be eligible to vote in those elections.

Perhaps it's simpler....if you make more from transfer payments than wages plus capital gains, you shouldn't be eligible to vote for anything.

Simply put, if you take more than you make, you don't deserve to vote. You can talk all you want, but since you are living off of others, you aren't allowed to tell them how to govern. And, most importantly, you aren't allowed to tip the scales further by voting for your own interest in living off of the kindness of your fellow citizens.

I honestly think it's time we consider such eligibility criteria. It's clearly not meant to subjectively infringe on any age, race or other particular group, except those who derive the bulk of their income from others, by way of transfer payments.

The nation's original voting criteria involved land ownership. At the time of the Revolution, landowners were seen as having identifiable "skin in the game," while merely working for a living wasn't seen as having a stake in a community. Land was immobile.

Now, it's not mobility that is the issue. It's living off of government largess. So an eligibility test that is more purely directed at earnings sources would make much more sense. Only those who produce more value than they receive from the government should be eligible to vote. Based on the prior year's tax returns, the federal government would be able to provide each state and local jurisdiction with a list of that entities' legitimate voters.

This could both reduce fraud, as well as eliminate the effect of those who only consume tax dollars. Moreover, those wishing to vote would have an added incentive to earn sufficient income on their own to outweigh any government transfer payments.

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