Monday, May 29, 2023 | Back issues
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Financing Government

I have yet another really obvious solution for our governmental fiscal crises.

Follow my logic here (I dare you).

I never sign petitions. Nag me all you want outside the grocery store, appeal to my knee-jerk leftist leanings, try to make me cry - it won't work. I'm not signing.

I'm against voter petitions.

You don't know where they've been. You don't know who's touched them. And you don't know that your signature won't be used to buy drugs.

Really. Those signature gatherers get paid for gathering. The money could go to drugs.

Besides, voter initiatives are undemocratic. You can't get anything on the ballot without paying people to get thousands of signatures and even if you're able to do that, you generally have to come up with a whole lot more money to run a campaign to counter all the money being spent on ads misrepresenting your initiative.

Initiatives are not something that any citizen can create. In fact, practically no one can.

And, on top of that, once the initiative makes it to the ballot, it's so long and convoluted and carefully-crafted to entice some voters, that most of us have no idea what they're about. All the campaign ads don't help.

So we get some remarkably bad legislation and constitutional amendments when we could have had our legislators come up with their own remarkably bad legislation and constitutional amendments without bothering us.

I know some of you are thinking that we should do away with legislators because we can create budget crises on our own without their help. That's not a bad idea -- government as a giant MMO. But it doesn't solve the problem of costly campaigning.

And think of all the people out there who'd readily trade their votes on key issues for an Orb of Frost Giant Strength. You can't run a government that way.

But have you spotted the key element here?

It's money.

So here's the solution: Pay-per-vote.

You only get to vote if you pay the state and you can vote as many times as you can afford or want to fork over the dough.

Think about the millions being spent by Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown in California right now. Instead of pouring all those dollars into the ether, they could be voting for themselves and balancing California's budget at the same time.

And to prevent someone like, say, C. Montgomery Burns, from taking over the government without a fight, you'd put a cap on the number of votes available for purchase by one person.

Some of you are now thinking this is unfair to poor people. Maybe it is, but consider all the advantages: they wouldn't have to waste time voting, they'd get the benefit of a suddenly debt-free government, and they'd be available for bribes (thereby boosting the economy).

And no one would bother them outside grocery stores.

MORE TO SET YOUR MIND AT EASE. Courthouse security continues to amaze and impress.

Melissa Nordbeck, the Courthouse News reporter in Tampa, provided this report: "As he watched my purse go through the X-ray, a security guard asked me, 'do you have a long thin knife in your purse?'


"When I told him it was a pen he stated he had never seen a metal pen before."

And we know what pens are mightier than.

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