Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No One Should be Allowed to Vote Himself a Raise

With another election approaching —for me it is local elections for mayor and such — the newspaper and other media are brimming with exhortations to vote.   To my mind too many people vote already.  I am not at this moment talking about unqualified boobs who do not know anything about the U.S. constitution.  I am talking about citizens who with their vote are supporting those that will directly reward them through cozy pay and benefit deals from the public trough. 
Those who work for government should not be allowed to vote in elections.  In particular, nonmilitary employees of the U.S. government should not be permitted to vote for president, senator, and congressman, either in general elections or primaries. Employees of state governments should not be permitted to vote for statewide offices.  Employees of county or local governments should not be allowed to vote in these elections.  In fact, these employees should be barred from contributing to campaigns or participating in campaigns for those offices which directly supervise their employment.
 The Hatch Act (1939) already prohibits federal employees (civil servants) from engaging in partisan political activity and its provisions also apply to employees at the state and local level whose pay originates in federal funds.  I would extend this to a prohibition against voting in applicable elections since this encourages pandering to public employees and their unions, who will then expect to be rewarded. 
In particular these proposals will ban government school teachers from voting for and campaigning for state officials (and local officials) who are then obligated to pay them off after being elected.  It actually amazes me that given the federal role in education that teachers and teachers’ unions are not covered by the Hatch Act.
Let me add that these proposals would ban me from voting in state elections in Florida where I am a professor at a state university.