Re: Down With Democracy?

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Thu Oct 04 2001 - 12:07:54 MDT

Charlie Stross wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 04, 2001 at 11:16:35AM -0400, Mike Lorrey wrote:
> >
> > Outside of the US, it has been more the rule than the exception that to
> > varying degrees, you always get 51% of the people voting to tax 49% of
> > the people more than the rest (it even occurs here). Since time
> > immemorial, it has always been the rule in democratic systems that this
> > was the fatal flaw: that the game was over when the masses figured out
> > how to vote themselves bread and circuses.
> Untrue.
> There's an equillibrium condition that shows up when the tax burden
> spreads so widely that a majority of the voters are affected; after a
> while they start to vote for tax cuts. As witness the UK during the
> 1980's and 1990's, or the US more recently.

And it is always structured to make as many on the low end completely
untaxed as possible. Currently in the US, if you make less than about
$31k and have at least one dependent, you pay no taxes or get more back
from the government than you pay. This constitutes nearly a majority of
the population. With the most current tax cuts, this level climbs to
$31,600, which is a majority (average hourly wage is $15 and change).

The poorest 51% always vote to tax the richest 49% as much as possible,
and give themselves as many tax breaks as possible. They may give a few
crumbs to the rich, but generally the poor pay less and less as time
goes on. When voter registration standards rise, this trend tends to

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