LOL. Only the best writers manage to make their point in this elegant off-hand final phrase of the sentence way. Scathing Online Schoolmarm says: BRAVO.

Perkins, by the way, has the floor (post-Kristallnacht) and clearly intends to use it. Here is his latest proposal.

In order to vote, he proposed, everyone should have to have paid at least $1 in taxes.

“And those who have paid a million dollars in taxes,” he continued, “should have a million votes.”

He said later he was just kidding, but the comment has hit the airwaves hard (sample headline: TOM PERKINS CALLS FOR END TO UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE).

This idea of his – a million points of votes – for some reason reminds me of a proposal UD herself has put forward for years, but no one will listen to her. It came to her one summer morning as Les UDs were crossing the long, long Chesapeake Bay Bridge on their way to Rehoboth Beach.

Instead of each car paying whatever it is – ten, fifteen dollars – to cross the Bay, UD proposes that each car pay fifty thousand dollars. During the time the car is on the bridge, this money will be invested. (High-speed computers.) When the car gets to the end of the bridge, if the investment has paid off or broken even, all the money will be returned to the driver. Any profit will go toward maintenance of the bridge.

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6 Responses to ““[Tom] Perkins continues to insist that The [San Francisco] Chronicle had a vendetta against [Danielle] Steel, whom he says he speaks to every day, although they are divorced. He insists, for example, that The Chronicle best-seller list does not include Steel’s books. However, the list only includes books sold in San Francisco, which may not be Steel’s demographic.””

  1. Colin Says:

    It’s not quite as mad as it seems: in 1867 Disraeli proposed what he called Fancy Franchises to increase the votes of the wealthy and educated, and through much of the 19th century in Ireland a landowner could have as many as six votes in local elections. It was meant to reflect the idea that those who pay the bills should have more of a say in what those bills would be. Or, as Lord Salisbury put it (more or less), why should two bin men be able to outvote a Rothschild? We now know this is Very Bad, but I’ve never heard anyone quite say why.

  2. Greg Says:

    For me John Rawls, “A Theory of Justice,” among the other things that it is, is a recent and powerful statement of why. But, as in all else, if you don’t buy the premises, you don’t buy the conclusions. And, in moral theory, the premises always are ultimately based on intuition about what is right, however enriched intuition may be by experience.

  3. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Yes – I’d say that for most people fairness – the effort to be fair – skews very much in the direction of people who have less, not more. And I’d say that this instinct is particularly sharp when “more” means – since we live in the world of Tom Perkins – millions and even billions more.

  4. GTWMA Says:

    On your bridge proposal, you do realize that median wealth of Americans is about $40,000, right?

  5. Colin Says:

    Universal suffrage is undoubtedly fair, but is it wise?

  6. TAFKAU Says:

    Colin, the alternative to universal suffrage is that some groups of people get to decide that other groups of people don’t get to participate in selecting their leaders.* And it’s clear where that inevitably leads. So, yeah, it’s wise.

    *Of course, to some extent, this already happens, e.g., in the case of ex-felons who have served their time.

    As for Perkins, I yield to Mr. Dylan:

    Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good
    Will it buy you forgiveness
    Do you think that it could
    I think you will find
    When your death takes its toll
    All the money you made
    Will never buy back your soul.

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