Taxes and the vote

Ex-cons can’t vote.

Is this taxation without representation?

Many ex-cons can vote, many can’t. Some have to wait until after parole, some can’t ever vote again. Here’s a summary.

In the interest of expanding the argument, green card holders, people on various visas, and illegals also cannot vote. They all pay taxes. Even if you limt the argument to "federal income taxes"and don’t count all the other taxes, many of them still pay taxes.

This is true in other places as well; I get to pay taxes both in Holland and in the US but I can only vote in one place.

So sure, of course it is.

And of course we shouldn’t forget the largest group of non-represented taxpayers: teenagers under 18.

I’m not sure whether I agree with the general philosophy regarding barring felons from voting or not. Since many felons have done nothing worse than possessing drugs, I can’t really see that they’ve demonstrated an inability to live with our society. Thus, I can’t find any moral justification for striping them of their democratic right to vote. In our society, however, it’s clear that at the present time in America, the policy works to disenfranchise certain groups. Criminals are overwhelmingly poor; blacks and Hispanics are far more likely to be felons than whites and Asians. And, of course, given those demographics, banning felons from voting works in favor of the Republicans, against the Democrats. The net effect is that you have some politicians who then benefit from classifying as many people as criminals as possible–not a good thing.

Well it isn’t like “taxation without representation” is prohibited by the Constitution or anything. If someone is all fired up about that phrase as a general principle, I would think that that someone should first look at the people of Washington, DC, who have not ever had voting representative in Congress. Convicts might not be able to vote, but they still have a voting member of Congress to complain to… unless they live in DC. (Or Guam, or American Samoa, etc.)

“Taxation without representation” is a cute slogan, but it’s essentially meaningless. Your right to vote is not dependent on whether you pay taxes or not. There are many people who pay taxes who are disenfranchises (felons, kids under 18, et al) and only partially franchised (DC residents). On the flip side, there are many people who don’t pay taxes who also vote (people on welfare, for instance).

Of course, I am all in favor of giving up my right to vote if it would mean I don’t have to pay taxes.

Now that would be a sweet deal. I wonder how small the voting population would get- 'cos if it eventually got small enough, the people who actually paid their taxes could probably get enough back in bribes to make up the shortfall.

I’'m an Australian citizen, and a green-card holder in the US. I pay taxes in both Australia and the US, because I have taxable income in both places. However, I can’t vote in either country. (I can’t vote in Australia, because I’m resident outside Australia for too long). So don’t talk to me about taxation without representation.

As people have noted, there seem to be no hard rules regarding taxation without representation. Still, for reasons that ITR Champion brought up, it does seem unfair to me that some states don’t allow ex-felons to vote. It also seems rather counterproductive to me from the point of view of rehabilitation. It seems that, to the extent possible, it is best to re-integrate felons back into society in order that they feel more invested in the whole process and less likely to commit further crimes. Not that I think having the right to vote will necessarily have much effect on the rate of rescidivism, but I do think that it sends the ex-cons the wrong message.

That would be an unfair policy because the nature of the choice would differ at different economic levels. Poorer people would need to forfeit their vote in order to pay the rent, have health insurance, or other necessities. For richer folks, the vote decision would be a decision between a shiny sports car and a slightly less shiny sports car.

Actually, since the poor don’t really pay all that much in taxes (if they pay taxes at all), they would benefit very little by this tradeoff. Of course, that’s probably “unfair,” too.

And, to digress, pretty much every government policy is “unfair” by your definition. Is it unfair that food stamps exist because I can’t take advantage of them? Of course not, no more than it’s unfair that when the government cuts taxes I benefit because I have a job and actually pay taxes. Social programs benefit the poor because these programs are designed for people who don’t have any money. Tax cuts benefit the rich because only people with money pay taxes. By your definition, both are “unfair” because they benefit different economic levels differently.