There’s always something to howl about

Linking votes to taxes paid!

Think about this:

If one has no financial stake in our country, how much of a say-so should he have in its management? Let’s put it another way: I do not own stock, and hence have no financial stake, in Ford Motor Co. Do you think I should have voting rights or any say-so in the management of the company? I’m guessing that the average sane person’s answer is no.

Walter Williams is becoming one of my favorites.  He is certainly thought provoking.  The quote above is from an Investors Business Daily editorial by Walter Williams on Linking Voting Rights With Taxes Paid.

This week there has been a bunch of consternation in the press about 47% of the population not paying income taxes.  The question, Bloodhounds, is do you think “taxes paid in” or “ownership of real estate” or something else altogether would be a better way to encourage voters to support policies that strengthen and are good for the country rather than just protecting their handouts?


14 Comments so far

  1. Doug Quance April 21st, 2010 3:14 pm

    Walter Williams is great.

    If memory serves me correctly – in our earliest history, you had to be a property owner to vote.

    Restricting the vote from those who would only vote themselves more benefits from the treasury is a noble goal.

  2. Don Reedy April 21st, 2010 6:05 pm


    This is my premise, and it’s not pretty.

    Democracy (or Republic to be more exacting) means one vote for each citizen. If you try to make citizenry pliable, adapting with taxes or education or even an imagery “common sense” scoring system, you end up with something other than democracy.

    Sure, I want intelligent voters. I want engaged voters. I want voters with an immediate stake in the outcome of that vote. But you can’t have it. If you play by the rules of a democracy, then what is eventually going to happen is going to happen.

    We’re finding, aren’t we, that democracy deteriorates exponentially when years from the inception the voters no longer hold to the founding truths and principles. When those principles and truths become a distant memory, greed and “what’s in it for me” takes front and center stage.

    It’s too late, Al. The boat has tipped. Center of gravity is as sure in politics as in physics.

    Remember Charles Allnut? Think leeches. That’s the point in the movie where we stand now. The Charles Allnut’s among us are in the water with the leeches. We hate them. We are repelled by them. But they won’t move the African Queen. It’s still up to us.

    Do we change the course of history, pumping the bilges faster than the leeches weigh us down?

    Look, Walter Williams and you are probably smarter than me, but do either of you think that we can ever outvote the leeches? Seriously, if “yes”, then how?

  3. Jim Klein April 22nd, 2010 8:53 am

    Don, Walter Williams is one of the most brilliant men on the face of the planet, but on this you are closer to right than he is. You’ve got it pegged: “…the voters no longer hold to the founding truths and principles.” End of story.

    The real problem is /what’s/ being voted, and that’s just plain thuggery. When you /must/ do this or /can’t/ do that, those founding principles of individual liberty and sovereignty are but a distant memory. If even that.

    The problem with mob rule is both parts–that it’s a mob, but especially that it’s rule. It doesn’t matter who’s doing the voting; if they’re voting rule over others, it’s illegitimate. If we all turn into ants or bees, then maybe it’ll make sense. Till then, it’s just a fight against reality–against nature–and reality always wins. It’s a simple enough truth, but an awfully hard lesson.

  4. Al Lorenz April 22nd, 2010 9:19 am

    Jim & Don, If we have mob rule, and the mob changes its mind, suddenly all the previous thugs are now going to be punished.

    Don, if the boat has truly tipped, the only option left is to abandon ship. Where are you going? Australia and New Zealand are both nice. Certainly, if you feel the way you say and there is no hope, you are on your way somewhere else, right? What else would you be doing.

    If, on the other hand, you think that a lesson may be being learned and there may still be a a possibility of bailing out that boat, don’t you want to help?

    From what I have seen, you’re both thoughtful folks. If you really believe all is lost, where are you going to go?

  5. Jeff Brown April 22nd, 2010 10:16 am

    I’m with the founding fathers who believed having skin in the game mattered.

    Also, I’m wondering if Walter Williams got his inspiration for the article from one published four days earlier on the exact topic by one of my favorite authors, Charles Rowley. å

  6. Jeff Brown April 22nd, 2010 10:17 am

    This link should work —

  7. Don Reedy April 22nd, 2010 3:32 pm


    You know me enough to understand I’m not abandoning the ship. I’m too loyal and (I guess) stupid to do so.

    I’m not saying that where we live now, or will live for the near future, right here in the good ole USA, isn’t still the best place on earth for any of us who aren’t willing or able to start over again in any real or imaginary place.

    But what I am saying is that you and I had better get used to living in a different kind of America. The ship that once carried strong and committed Christians and saints, miscreants and adventurers to this land has sprung a leak so big that George and T.J. and Tom Paine can’t put is right.

    I love sailing. I think what I was trying to say was that the vessel we’re on now has a rip in the sail. Can’t be fixed. Let’s make the boat go as fast and straight as we can for as long as we can. But you know, Al, that sooner or later the rip will get larger, the damage unrepairable, and the boat will sail into irons.

    I rue the day………

  8. Sean Purcell April 22nd, 2010 4:23 pm

    This is the natural and really the only outcome of empowering some men over others. Power corrupts.

    We can, of course, engage in this as a purely philosophical discussion just for fun – you know, pretend this isn’t the only possible result. In which case I believe the founding fathers’ purpose in creating a republic over a democracy was in answer to the questions raised here. A democracy of “one man, one vote” will vote in their best interest rather than society’s. (This is where the truth of the inevitable outcome should be obvious.) In any case, by sending representatives the theory was they would make decisions in benefit of, at the very least, their districts if not their state or in fact the entire country. The purpose of the 2 year House and 6 year Senate seats was to deal with exactly this type of issue.

    As a structure it is very well thought out; problem is, it still depends on man’s nobility rather than man’s self-interest. This was a problem then and is a catastrophe now. Very few noble people go into politics as far as I can tell. Worse yet, we no longer have “shame.” Not politically, not socially… We watch politicians stand at the podium and lie. We know they’re lying, they know they’re lying, but no one is ashamed.

    This is all a discussion of theory in any case. There is no government structure that can be designed on a large scale and carried out without the end result being corruption. The government ship must sink because it’s very keel is hewn from false premise. The only real question is how long will she stay afloat…

  9. Sean Purcell April 22nd, 2010 4:30 pm

    @Al – I have looked at Australia myself. The time to leave is not here though. Are you familiar with the Expat Tax? An amazing piece of legislative enslavement on a worldwide scale. Moving somewhere else not as far down the corruption path will make more sense when the system here has failed enough to make the Expat Tax unenforceable.

  10. Jim Klein April 25th, 2010 6:39 am

    Hi, Al…I didn’t mean to imply that anything is lost, let alone all. I was just saying what Sean said more clearly: “The government ship must sink because it’s very keel is hewn from false premise.”

    That’s all. Losing something bad, isn’t losing. Though I ought to add that I think Sean gets there using a fundamentally incorrect premise himself–that nobility is somehow distinct from self-interest. I’d say nobility /is/ self-interest and self-interest is nobility. Indeed, I’d say that realization of this would fix the problem that has created the necessity of which Sean speaks, the necessity of failure in our interactional organization.

    IOW there’s a way out of this maze but only if we choose to reject /all/ false premises, including the ones that have been drilled into our minds for thousands of years.

  11. Sean Purcell April 25th, 2010 4:13 pm

    I believe we are all driven by self-interest, no matter how hard some may try to sublimate it. If one lives their self-interest honestly than we might agree that person (and their self-interest) is noble. But there are others who would serve their interest by stealing from me, all the while telling me they are my benefactor; I find no nobility in that, though it’s a pretty apt description of government.

    I agree with you that I could have worded what I said better. Government assumes my rights are subject to another’s discretion and confers to certain people that discretion. It then relies on their exalted character – nobility – to ignore their own self-interest. A nobility distinct from and above self-interest. This is a system designed to fail (as they all are) because my rights are not subject to another’s discretion and, as you pointed out, true nobility recognizes and respects the self-interest of all.

  12. Jim Klein April 26th, 2010 9:13 pm

    Hi, Sean…I knew you had it right. I wrote that very poorly and only meant to address the words; sorry.

    Everyone’s an egoist when they raise that fork to their lips, eh? But they like to kid themselves about it. You got it right—it’s about honesty.

  13. Robert Kerr May 2nd, 2010 2:59 pm

    Ridiculous idea. Makes as much sense as denying dividend income the right to vote on income or labor issues.

    Let’s be honest: it’s clearly tax cuts that created this “47% of filere pay no federal income” taxes problem; the fix is equally clear.

  14. Sean Purcell May 3rd, 2010 9:37 am

    it’s clearly tax cuts that created this “47% of filers pay no federal income” taxes problem; the fix is equally clear