Fractious parties seem to dominate American politics. I have a recommendation that would fix the problem but it would require a constitutional amendment.
Reading a biography of Thomas Jefferson, it become obvious to me that the last 4 years of the 18th century were as contentious and rife with angst as modern day politics. Like the modern day, there was even a Congressman (Matthew Lyon) who was re-elected while in prison. The Federalists and the Republicans were fighting cats and dogs, much like Republicans and Democrats today.
Today, some people fear that when more than 50% of our population votes that they get free stuff funded by others, it will create a tipping point toward destruction of America.
As an engineer, I see a lot of these issues happening because there is no “happy equilibrium” – no feedback mechanism to halt the excesses. If you get too many rich people voting in a way to promote their own wealth, there is no mechanism to reverse the trend. Likewise, if too many people vote themselves dollars out of the treasury, there is no mechanism to reverse the trend. In the eyes of an engineer, these are unstable systems that need stronger feedback mechanisms.
To introduce a feedback mechanism, let’s change who gets to vote. You only get to vote if your IRS tax return shows taxable money of at least $1 in a year after all the deductions and credits. If you are a contributor to the coffers you get to vote. If you are a consumer of taxes, you don’t get to vote.
How would this work? Well, initially, a lot of recipients would be cut off the voting roles. The situation would swing against welfare programs. However, if someone got a job – any job, even a low wage job at McDonalds, they could again vote that the rich “pay their fair share” so they can get their free stuff again. But they can’t quit the job or they’d lose their vote again. This feedback mechanism would naturally find an equilibrium point rather than running to one extreme or the other.
The phenomena described by Obama as “you didn’t build your company” would ensure there are jobs available. Ultimately there is no production or profit without work. I guess for a while, the rich could take money from each other with derivative investments, but the only way to create new wealth is production. As soon as someone is hired to do the work, they have a vote to prevent being trapped in serfdom.
This is kind of a strange reversal on historical government. Normally, the only “voters” (or monarchs) were the rich aristocracy who kept themselves in power with societal freebies taken from others. Under this new proposal, the lowest wage earners are the ones that can keep voting feebies for themselves if they want.
Possible improvements would include..
- Free voting for the first few years of adult life. Requirement for taxable income would kick in after a few years. This would stabilize the boundary condition of entering the work force.
- Extra taxes on rich-people activities that don’t require workers, in order to provide a feedback mechanism to hire people.
- After becoming too rich, people lose their vote again. This would put a natural cap on how rich a person can get based on self-serving laws.
Hmm.. what do you think?