This is not a typical blog. My posts will be edited and maintained.

Please note that these posts concern all levels of government, not just federal.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Voters Shall Be Unable to Vote Benefits for Themselves

Ideally implemented at the state or local level:

Inasmuch as it has been said that,
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can exist only until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by a dictatorship. (attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville)
citizens who receive and accept public funds in a personal capacity shall not be permitted to vote in elections for offices which directly influence such funds. Such citizens otherwise permitted or entitled to vote may participate in elections for offices unrelated to such funds.

An individual so banned shall have associated rights, permissions or entitlements reinstated after six months of not receiving such benefits.

Voting records shall record in which elections an individual is and is not permitted to vote. An election officer who knowingly or through gross negligence permits an individual to vote in an election who which the voter is not permitted shall be guilty of enabling and assisting election fraud.

Such records and enforcements shall be strongly encouraged though electronic means.

Examples, for purposes of clarification of intent:

An individual who receives a Federal housing subsidy may not vote for Federal Congress, Senate or President, as these offices create or approve such subsidies.

An individual who received state food assistance may not vote for state house, senate or governor, as these offices create or approve such subsidies.

An individual who lives in locally-subsidized housing or housing for which state or federal funds are directed by local officers may not vote in elections for such local officers.


  1. Aside from the obvious Constitutional flaws in this proposition, extending your logic would eliminate nearly the entire population from voting. For example, military veterans would also not be able to vote, since they receive veterans benefits. Most farmers could not vote, since most receive some sort of public subsidy or are receiving Conservation Reserve Program payments, etc. Most federal employees, including members of the military could not vote since their pay is a benefit to them. Everyone on social security, which is nearly the entire population over the age of 65 could not vote since that is also a public benefit. But why limit your proposal to only those receiving a direct public payment - many people receive a substantial benefit from payments made by the government so as to distort their ability to have an unbiased judgement with respect to whom they vote for. For example, anyone driving on a public road is receiving a huge benefit for which they did not pay for. Some people, such as truckers or professional drivers, have their entire livelihood dependent on the conditions of those roads and obviously want more money spent on road construction. So do people who attend a public school or university, as those payments create a substantial benefit for them. As would anyone who works for a corporation that does business with the government. . .

  2. First, there is no Federal Constitutional right to vote. Some states have granted this as a right when concerning state and local elections, but there is no such federal right. As an example of past restrictions, poll taxes have been required, which were very modest in amount but simply required that the voter not be indigent; an approximate modern equivalent might be $20. Some states have limited voting to property owners, as they were deemed to have a greater stake in the outcome of the elections.

    Second, veterans are not receiving public funds, but earned benefits, and the same goes for non-military government employees. Still, it's a valid point, and one which merits additional consideration toward specific wording in the law.

    On the rest:

    Those driving on public roads are benefiting from the use of their own fuel taxes which were collected specifically for that purpose. One who does not drive also does not pay fuel taxes.

    Students of public schools are similarly receiving services for which they pay, either directly or via property taxes collected specifically for that purpose.

    Social Security is not (in principle) a benefit but a personal investment, merely a forced one over which the individual has no say short of his vote. So long as the pay-out does not exceed pay-in plus reasonable gain on investment, it is not a benefit. That the principal has been appropriated and spent by Congress, much as Bernard Madoff did in his investment scheme, is another matter.

    However, farmers receiving subsidies, payments which do not relate to taxes paid either individually or as a group, and for which no work was done, do apply to this principle. They should not be able to vote for those who influence the subsidies.

    Perhaps the limitation would be better worded to replace the term "public funds" with "public assistance, entitlement, welfare, or subsidy."

    I believe you would find that if such laws were enacted, many unneeded benefits would quickly be eliminated. Those who have legitimate need will still be able to get "safety net" benefits, as we are a charitable and generous people.

  3. There is no federal right to vote? Have you read the Constitution? The Constitution penalizes any state that abridges the right to vote. I point out the 14th Amendment, Section 2:

    "Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State."

    Driving on the a public road financed by the government is not an entitlement, or having the protection of the military is not a benefit? Explain.

    But furthermore, who has a bigger interest in government programs - someone receiving a $500 monthly social security disability benefit, or $200 in food stamps, or the CEO/owner of a contracting company who is set to land a $50,000,000 government contract with a guaranteed 10% profit margin, of which the CEO will get 20% of that profit. . .