I was reading a post over at Mrs. du Toit's
and the comments got me to thinking..... well, reading either of the du Toit's will get you to thinking, but this specific idea was about voting. The Founder's Intent was to have free, landowning
men vote. Now, I don't know if that intent would be workable in today's day and age. To put it bluntly, there are enough people who pay taxes and put in their fair share who don't own land to make a sizable chunk of the population. When I lived in Seattle I was certainly paying quite a bit in taxes, but rented the house I lived in. We've gone far enough away from the Founder's intent with regards to taxation (income tax was unconstitutional until the 20th century) that we can no longer say that only landowners should be able to vote.
Yet, as another commenter at Mrs. du Toit's said:
I used to think that the free landowning men was the best possible alternative
... but more and more I’m thinking that it needs to be more along the line of
“them what pays, decides.”
I believe that a good portion of our problems in this country is due to the fact that we have a huge portion of people voting for things that they have no stake in whatsoever. If you're on welfare, sitting on your ass and taking money from the government, why should you care if taxes go up? You're not paying any taxes at all, so your decision does not effect you what so ever. On a personal level, you have no worries about jacking up tax rates, and more importantly you have no real prerogative to learn about why high tax rates are a bad thing to begin with.
All too often, it is only when you have a vested interest in something that you begin to educate your self on that subject.
Too many people today know little to nothing about the way the government is supposed to work. They know little to nothing about WHY the Founding Fathers set up the government the way they did. And most people I've met did not know that an income tax was NOT written in the constitution until the Sixteenth Amendment
. Most people do not know that until the Seventeenth Amendment
, Senators were elected by the state's legislature, NOT THE GENERAL POPULATION. The general population were responsible for electing their Representatives. Too many people don't even know what the Tenth Amendment
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people
Got that? If the constitution does not specifically say "This is what the Federal Government can do" then that power is automatically given to the states or to the people. The Constitution was, above all, a check on the power of the government itself, NOT ON THE PEOPLE!
It was all a system of checks and balances until people started screwing it up. We need to re-educate people on their government, but in order to do that we first have to ensure that the people voting have a vested interest in what their vote affects.
Anyways, that's my meandering thoughts for the day. Anyone want to try to clarify what I said? Go for it.
Oh, and as for what I would do to get people to "own" their vote? Simple - I would restrict voters to those who pay taxes. If you paid the government this year, you get to vote. If the government paid you, you don't get to vote. And I would bring my property tax bill to the voting station and pull the lever.