The discussion about whether Roy Herron’s 94-year-old mother should be allowed to vote as she always has, described Monday, prompts this question:

IN AMERICA, SHOULD POOR PEOPLE EVEN BE ALLOWED TO VOTE?

Not a question you might expect in 2011, but a question some on the right have been asking. Click here for a remarkable overview . . . and for further links to articles like the one entitled, “Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American.”

Hence the successful Republican drive to shut down ACORN* . . . to raise new barriers to voter registration . . . and, as with Mrs. Herron, to raise new barriers to voting itself.

After all, if too many poor people vote, you can wind up with people like Bill Clinton, who raised taxes on the job creators.

True, under his stewardship, 23 million new jobs were created, the rich got richer, NAFTA was signed, welfare-to-work was launched, and the budget got balanced. But Clinton may just have been a fluke. He may not be the kind of candidate hordes of poor people would normally elect. They might elect someone like Barack Obama, who would want to put construction workers back to work rebuilding our infrastructure and teachers back to work educating our kids, break the log jam in the patent office and push through 16 tax cuts for small businesses. Radical stuff.

Our Republican friends who are working so hard to make it harder for poor people to vote may not long for the days when only “white males with property” were allowed to vote. But they certainly remember Ronald Reagan fondly. (He raised payroll taxes on the middle class even as he slashed taxes on the rich.) And they believe the rich are “job creators” who must not be over-taxed – even though, after Bush slashed the tax rate on dividends and long-term capital gains to 15% (it was 28% under Reagan), jobs were not created.

It is a complete canard to claim people won’t start businesses if tax rates are what they were under Eisenhower or Nixon or Ford or Reagan – they started loads of them.

And it is a complete canard to say that a small business (or a large one) will not hire workers it needs to make more profit if they know that profit will be taxed at one rate versus another.

Or that they will hire workers they don’t need if taxes on their profits are lower.

So I say: Let even poor people vote. And if they should wind up electing another Clinton or Obama again, and if the wealthy do have to pay tax at no lower rates than their secretaries – as was the case under Ronald Reagan – never fear: it will be good for the country. Even, ultimately, for the rich.

*Too late, ACORN was completely vindicated.

 

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