Pay No Taxes, Get No Vote


Reprinted with permission from Thinking Right

No one who does not pay federal taxes should have the right to vote – period.  We have finally reached the tipping point in America where those that have no financial stake in our government outnumber those that do.  More than 200 years ago both the Founding Fathers and philosophers predicted the day when American democracy would end precisely the moment this unbalance was reached.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.  (Alexis de Tocqueville)

The Founding Fathers set about to create a government that first of all would ensure liberty and then protect person and property – if effect, the Constitution protected the people FROM the government.  To ensure against the momentary passions of a democratic majority, including spending the money of others, the Founding Fathers deliberately designed a governmental system in which most things cannot be done in a hurry and there are many checks and balances on what can be accomplished. Even so, Benjamin Franklin and other Founders thought it was unlikely the American experiment would last very long.  John Adams wrote, “Democracy never lasts very long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”  (Founding Fathers)  De Tocqueville elaborated, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”  (Alexis de Tocqueville)



Voting was not a universal right under the constitution as drafted by the founding fathers.  As one way of restraining excessive taxing and spending, the voting franchise was limited originally to white, male property owners because the Founders wanted the voters to have a vested interest in stability and property rights.  (Original Right To Vote)  It is actually a very recent phenomenon, since 1971,  that most over 18 can vote.   There is no original “fundamental” right to vote, it is a right that has grown and changed with the times.  Unfortunately legitimate expansions of the franchise (women, people of color, youth) were adopted without reflection on other legitimate reasons to limit the franchise.


I can already hear the screams that I am both fascist and elitist – if those claims were true than so were the Founding Fathers who created an even more sharply controlled electorate than I am proposing.  People also tend to forget that we ALREADY have limitations on the right to vote that everyone seems to accept.  You have to be old enough (18), you have to be mentally competent, you cannot be an incarcerated felon.  All of these limitations seem to be freely accepted.

Democrats have created a very successful party today by playing modern-day Robin Hood and using taxes to promise those not working or productive a way to live the American dream without the muss and fuss of the actual work.  The resentment over this divide is growing, but unfortunately the productive side of American is now outnumbered by those living off of the work of others.  We have reached that tipping point that both Benjamin Franklin and Alexis de Tocqueville predicted would spell the end to democracy in the United States.

We need to Amend the Constitution to require that to vote you must have some direct investment in the country.  I would accept paying federal taxes as a threshold, but I just throw that out there as the start of the conversation.

About Geoff Willis