Limited Suffrage

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Ultimately, democracy is a terrible idea. Giving everyone, regardless of their status and condition, the right to vote, leads to the predictable results: people voting themselves money.

Here are a few proposals to limit suffrage. I am not convinced that any are great, but we’ll see.

First, the idea that only property owners can vote. If you own a certain amount of property, then you can have a vote. This would allow people who own the property in a certain voting district some control over who gets to vote there. If you don’t like the politics of a person, don’t sell them property. It would also encourage people to own property, something that rich people already do. Finally, it would likely raise the IQ and attentiveness of the voters, preferring those who are at least able to accumulate enough wealth to own property.

Another idea is to limit it based on how much taxes you pay. If you pay no taxes, you get no vote. That is, “No representation without taxation.” We could make the limit very low, say, $1, and then we would have people basically paying $1 to vote. Or we could make it quite large, say, $1k or $10k. The benefit here is the people who fund the government actually get to choose how it is conducted, while those who do not get no say. Alternatively, we can have your vote count based on how much you pay in taxes. You get 1 vote for every dollar you spend in taxes.

The problem I see here is people might pay people money just so they can pay taxes and vote. So either we make it non-optional (IE, you have to prove income and the tax rate is 5%, so you have to pay 20x to give someone the right to vote) or we make sure that we exclude people who make money from government.

Another idea is to bar people who receive money from the government from voting. As a consolation, we can also keep them from paying taxes as well, since that just plain stupid in the first place.

Here’s an option: You literally buy votes. Every election cycle, you get to spend $1 for a vote. If you really want someone to win, spend $10,000 and vote for him 10,000 times. This money would be used to run the government, obvious. The side effect of this is it sort of becomes a lottery. If I dumped $1B dollars to get 1B votes, and everyone else paid $999M, then not only would I control my $1B, but I would control everyone else’s $999M, thus doubling my rate of return.

Here’s another option: You can vote, but it doesn’t count. In this scenario, we go back to the old system where the senate is appointed by the states and not the people, and we end the practice of voting for president. If you want a say in who is president, you have to control enough state legislatures first.

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2 Responses to “Limited Suffrage”

  1. alex holtz Says:

    What you are saying for the top part is that only wealthy landowners can vote and let`s say that the landowners vote in a corrupt leader who imposes harsh laws on these who can not afford land. What happens then?!

    On Thu, May 4, 2017 at 10:19 PM, Federal Way Conservative wrote:

    > Jonathan Gardner posted: “Ultimately, democracy is a terrible idea. Giving > everyone, regardless of their status and condition, the right to vote, > leads to the predictable results: people voting themselves money. Here are > a few proposals to limit suffrage. I am not convinced that ” >

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      If the landowners didn’t want other people there, what can they do to stop it? Suppose there were no government, and all the people who owned land didn’t want a particular kind of person there, what can be done?

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