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Democracy Auction

What is so sacrosanct about one person one vote...?

WE SPENT eight hours driving down from Burlington yesterday, writes Daily Reckoning founder Bill Bonner.

That gave us plenty of time to listen to the radio and catch up on the news. We listened to CNN most of the time. Very depressing.

For hours on end, the CNN team worried about the election results. There was almost endless discussion of the roles played by the outside organizations, big donors, and campaign advertising. Experts criticized the Republicans' strategy. And most were very critical of the US presidential election system.

The electoral college seems to give some voters – those in 'swing' states – more importance than those in other states. And looking at a map of results by county, which turned into an obsession with the CNN crew, you will see that almost the entire nation is red...while the winner of the election is blue.

Every expert, layman and kibitzer allowed to express an opinion had the same one: that something is wrong with the system. All seemed to think that every vote should have exactly the same weight as every other vote.

But how could this be? Inevitably, a close race will give greater importance to the few voters who are still on the fence... since they will determine the outcome.

'Everything happens at the margin,' John Maynard Keynes once said. He was speaking of economics. But it is true in politics too. Some people will definitely and always vote the Democrats' ticket. Others will vote Republican, come what may.

The people who decide the outcome are somewhere in-between...capable of being swayed one way or the other depending on the candidates' charisma, policies or bribery.

Most commentators wanted to make the system simpler, so that the winner would be chosen by majority of the popular vote...

But we wonder: why should one person's vote count as much as another's? What is sacrosanct about the one man, one vote principle?

In our view, zombies shouldn't vote at all. People who get money from the government should abstain; they have a conflict of interest. Naturally, the zombies vote for more blood. And now, there are so many of them, it's impossible to stop them.

And what about people who haven't bothered to read the paper or inform themselves about the issues? We admit; such people are usually way ahead of the common, brainwashed voter...but for the sake of argument, shouldn't the informed voter's vote be worth more than the uninformed voter's vote?

People who don't pay taxes shouldn't be allowed to vote either. Golf memberships...clubs... corporations – almost all require that your dues be paid up before you have the right to vote.

Come to think of it, how come the government doesn't operate on a "let them who pay the piper call the tune" basis? Why don't the people who actually pay the costs of government get more say in how it is conducted?

Why don't they get more votes than people who pay nothing? You might get one vote for every $1,000 you pay in taxes, for example. If you pay nothing, you get no vote. If you pay $1m, you get 1,000 votes. Wouldn't that be fairer?

Or, how about this: auction votes on the internet! You just put out, say, 100 million votes. Make them available by national auction. And then voters get to decide for themselves how much they are worth...and how many they are willing to buy. You have an election every year...and give the proceeds to the government.

You could allow for a market in votes. Vote scalpers could buy votes in a block early... and then sell them off to desperate voters on election day.

Yes...let's have an honest election, for a change!

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Bill Bonner has co-authored a number of New York Times Bestsellers including Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Markets and Messiahs. In his own opinion, Bill's most recent title, A Modest Theory of Civilization: Win-Win or Lose, is his best work yet. Bill also founded The Agora, a worldwide community for private researchers and publishers, in 1979. Financial analysts within the group have exposed and predicted some of the world's biggest shifts since that time, starting with the fall of the Soviet Union back in the late 1980s, to the collapse of the Dot Com (2000) and then mortgage finance (2008) bubbles, and more recently the election of President Trump.

See full archive of Bill Bonner articles

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