There are a few other similar questions. The answers mostly point out downfalls as to why this wouldn't work. In this question I try to address these downfalls, hoping to patch (not necessarily totally fix) the system. I am interested in how balanced you think this system is. Are there are other shortcomings I have not seen (brownie points if you can provide a fix).
Also feel free to chip in with possible impacts it would have on society/the economy and/or how different aspects of politics (lobbying, election campaigns) would be different. (This latter isn't required as I don't want this question to be marked 'too broad' but I would love to hear opinions, either in your answer or comments).
I'm trying to create a new type of government where taxes aren't mandatory. Instead you are given votes based upon how much income tax you decide to pay. People who don't care about voting can keep all their money. But people interested in the political system could essentially buy votes, the more they cared the more votes they would buy.
[EDIT with clarification] I am NOT trying to make the perfect, corrupt free government/voting system. I do not think there could ever be such a thing. I totally plan on capitalizing on there being flaws and using that conflict. But you see I believe most people will agree that our current system is also corrupt. Yet it still works and we still use it (even if we grumble about it's unfairness). What I'm really wanting is a critique of this system. Could it be used, would people be as indifferent as we are (as a whole) in trying to change the system. And are any other major loopholes in this system I'm missing? For example, would this completely break/change our economy to the point that it would fail.
This whole system would follow some rules/regulations which (hopefully) balance it and help prevent it from being abused.
- The price of each additional vote increases exponentially. This is the main system in place to prevent the rich from dominating elections. The first few votes would be cheap enough for anyone to buy (maybe $1 for the first vote, or whatever). Wealthier people would have an advantage individually since they are able to buy more votes. It is important to note that this wouldn't be too large of a gap. This is because it would reach a point where they would be spending large chunks of their fortune for a single vote which wouldn't be cost effective. Assume many smart people have bumped minds to develop a fair growth rate for the equation(s).
[Edit with additional information] Feel free to challenge me on this (I'm perfectly willing to listen to criticism). The purpose of the exponential growth on vote prices is to let someone spend a little more money if they care that much but to not let the rich completely dominate. The growth rate (whatever it is) would try to balance this out. A rich person wouldn't be able to buy a 100k votes for example as this would obviously be unfair.
There are different kinds of votes you can buy. E.g. national/state/county votes. Obviously that vote could only be used in the respective election. Buying a county vote wouldn't increase the price of a state/national vote (possibly having different vote cost growth rates set in place by the respective government?). Therefor people wouldn't be deterred from buying national votes since their vote 'counts less' and therefor would get less bang for their buck.
The money spent on different votes in the previous bullet would go to the respective government. Federal vote money would go to the federal government, state vote money to the state etc.
There is still a version of the w-4 form and IRS (W-4 ,IRS quick explanations for non Americans). The W-4 would serve as a way for the government/IRS to see how much you earn. The IRS would investigate (audit) possible cases of voting fraud. For example, if you spent more on votes than your total income... expect a visit. It doesn't have to be that extreme, maybe you spent a large chunk of your income on votes but are living as if you didn't.
Voting is still anonymous. This is to provide another safeguard against the wealthy abusing the system. While they can give people money to spend on votes there is nothing stopping a voter from voting as he/she pleases.
[Edit with additional justification] Lots of people are bringing up the fact that it doesn't matter if a candidate can enforce whether the person he/she pays votes for them or not. This is because it is possible to find a base group of people you can be certain will vote appropriately. I have thought about this and didn't bring it up before because wouldn't both sides be doing this. How effective can this truly be? Wouldn't they just (more or less) cancel each other out? In the end the only people I see benefiting from this is the government since they're getting all the money. Also adding another bullet below this (which also address this issue).
[Edit with an additional bullet] I totally forgot about this one in my original write-up. Paying other people to vote for you is illegal. There would be appropriate penalties for both the payer and the payee. No this will by no means stop this from happening and people buying votes can distance themselves from the actual exchange. But it would act as a deterrent and it wouldn't be as rampant compared to it being legal.
Votes can be bought at anytime throughout the year so you don't take a huge financial hit come election day. They can also however be bought at the voting booth. But purchased votes only be spent during that voting cycle. A person can't save up votes over ten years, buying cheap votes, then use them all at once. (Possibly a refund if they aren't used? Or not, free money for the government 'n all).
What do y'all think? Would this system work or would it crumble for reasons I haven't addressed. Again feel free to include how you think this would change the government/economy.