He links to a Stuff Nation – article? columns? story? blog? eh – suggesting that only people who pay positive tax should get to vote.
We should only count the votes of people who paid a positive amount of tax (less any cash benefits), and preferably weight them by that amount. This would skew the decision making in favour of productive, intelligent people, leading to much better outcomes for the nation as a whole.
This is such a weird idea, and it crops up all the time on right-wing blogs. But think about it for five seconds: you only get to vote if you paid a positive amount of tax. So all retired people would lose the right to vote. You take a year off work to have a baby you lose the right to vote. Want to start up a business and live off your savings for a year? You lose the right to vote!
Anyway, DPF also dismisses the idea, but then goes on to say:
I don’t support this, but the issues Connell touches on does go to the heart of politics. There are systemic problem when such a huge proportion of the voting population are dependent on the state.
In a very broad sense, the parties of the left that advocate higher taxes aim to get 51% of the country dependent on the state – either through welfare, state jobs, Working for Families, taxpayer funded NGOs, student support etc. That is because it creates a voting constituency in favour of higher taxes, and hence them staying in power.
This is a reprise of Romney’s 47% argument. It’s a pretty common trope on the right, which buys into the Ayn Rand fantasy of a static society divided into productive workers and unproductive parasites, as opposed to, say, a society in which people are young, and don’t work, and then older, and work, and then even older when they retire and don’t work.
As many, many commentators pointed out when Romney made this arugment, the largest group of people ‘dependent on the state’ are the elderly, who skew towards the right when they vote. The second largest group are welfare beneficiaries, who don’t vote. How does that reality fit into this alleged left-wing strategy of electoral domination through state-dependency?
I guess you could argue that people employed in the state sector are ‘dependent on the state’ and thus left-wing. Nurses, teachers etc. Except that category includes police and military staff, who aren’t notoriously left-wing. How about the public-service? Well, they mostly live in Wellington which mostly party-voted National in the last election.
DPF goes onto say:
Likewise parties of the right try to reduce the number of people dependent on the state. They do stuff like promote asset sales, as the more voters who are private investors and the like, the more who support lower taxes etc.
I’m at a loss to see how the mixed-ownership model ‘reduces the number of people dependent on the state’. The New Zealand private sector seems completely dependent on the state and its ability to use taxpayer money to build profitable companies which can then be sold onto the private sector.
The solution isn’t to restrict voting rights, but to be aware of the dangers of getting a majority of the population dependent on taxpayer funding, because that is how you end up with say 55% receiving most of the taxes, demanding the 45% pay more and more.
Like I said, an increasing majority of those ‘dependent on taxpayer funding’ are going to be the elderly, without whom National would be unelectable, so I wish DPF good luck in convincing his party – its interventionist, authoritarian Economic Development Minister in particular – to implement the values he seems to think it should represent, but doesn’t actually deliver in any of its major policies.