Friday, February 14, 2014

Tom Perkins, "The War on the 1%", and a "Jonathan Swift" proposal on voting rights

Tom Perkins (“The War on the 1%”) wants to send us back to earlier times in American history, and let voting power be dependent on wealth, well, on taxes paid.  CNN Money has the story here  and CNN today suggested that this was a joke.  Can’t be serious.
Voting rights used to depend on owning property, in colonial America and in earlier days of the nation after independence.  Colonial Williamsburg offers a detailed write-up here.  By 1820, tax paying had replaced property ownership as a voting requirement, and by 1850 most property requirements had disappeared. 
Yet, the brazen efforts to keep African-Americans from voting before and during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s are well known (leading to tragedy sometimes, as with the three volunteers in Mississippi in 1964), and they may well have influenced the vote in Florida in the 2000 presidential election.  The film “Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election" from Robert Greenwald and Cinema Libre in 2002 emphasizes this point as it begins. 
Tom Perkin speaks at the Commonwealth Club, hosted by Fortune Magazine:

The forum mentions the tensions in San Francisco over wealth techies driving up property values (IT blog, Feb. 8).  

Perkins has been criticized more making comparisons to the ideology of early Nazi Germany and the “Crystal Night”.
Paul Krugman’s op-ed today in the New York Times on p A25 of the New York Times seems to apply, link here
Again, the big beef from the Left when I was growing up was that “capital exploits labor”, leading to unearned wealth.  

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