The Nation



Tax-based voting rights

The current political situation reminds me of a letter that I sent to "Letters" a few years ago. In any case, allow me to share it again, now that the timing is more relevant than ever.

Regardless of the "1-man, 1-vote" tradition dating back to Ancient Greece, voting rights in countries such as Thailand (where vote-buying is prevalent and "affordable" while certain groups of people are highly gullible) should be based on how much one contributes to the national tax pool.

For example, 1 vote should be granted for each B1,000 in tax payment, with a limit of, say, 1000 votes per person. Hence, those who do not pay taxes will not be able to vote. At the same time, no tycoon will be able to dominate the outcome if an election.

Why is this a fair alternative?

Running a country is in many ways similar to running a company. It's all about raising funds (taxes vs capital) and spending it (government spending vs investments).

In a company, your voting rights is based on how much money you contribute to the company in the form of shares. Minority shareholders, regardless of how many there are, should not be able to tell the board of management to pay dividends only to themselves at the expense of majority shareholders.

On the other hand, why should a tax-paying citizen pay Baht 1 million in taxes on his/her hard-earned income knowing that the very sum of money can buy the votes of an entire village under a "1-Village, 1-Million Baht" policy?

Andy Colmes


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