The short answer to my question is, “No”. So why the title of this post? A while back I read a business article about some company president (I can’t remember the source now) who liked to stoke ideas in meetings by throwing out bad ideas to start a discussion and see what good ideas could come from those meetings. This is what I’m trying here. So without further adieu…
In 1971 the 26th Amendment to the Constitution lowered the voting age to 18. This was done mainly in response to young people being subject to the draft – it’s hard to argue that someone being conscripted into potentially dying for their country shouldn’t be allowed to vote. If the state was going to give you the responsibilities of being an adult it certainly should include the rights and privileges as well. The draft is long gone, but the voting age stayed at 18. We never looked at the possibility of raising the voting age, but is it time to?
Obamacare has now raised the age of “Childhood” to 26, in that even at 26 years old insurance companies are now required to cover said child under their parents’ insurance. This raises the question, if you’re still too much of a child to handle the responsibilities of adulthood why should you have the rights of an adult? If you’ve never been an independent adult how can you be expected to appreciate the consequences of your vote? Why should someone who might never have been out in the real world be allowed to vote themselves candy from the government when they can’t have a real appreciation of the concept that things cost money? Or to make this simpler, we could set the threshold that as long as another individual can claim you as a dependent on their tax returns you are not granted the right to vote.
I’m a child of privilege who has never lived in the real world… And I vote!
Image appears courtesy of International Liberty
Stories along the lines of how young people aren’t growing up generally include some anecdote or points out that up until a few decades ago it was far more common to be married with children and somewhere near the are of home ownership at this age. I can only partially talk on this one – at the age of 26 I was working my tail off and looking at getting an MBA only after I had some real world experience under my belt. But on the flip side I didn’t marry Sister Babe until I was 41, which led to Baby Bob’s arrival last year. I would attribute my late start to a family not so much as a fear of growing up, but more to a dating style that I describe as “Some play hard to get. I play hard to want.”
But back on topic, from there we can take this idea to some very bad extensions – do we restrict the right to vote only to those who pay federal taxes? What about if you’re on welfare, unemployment, or other social assistance? The left could take this to the extension that since we can’t restrict employees of corporations’ right to vote would this justify restricting their free speech, a la Citizens United? Of course, these are all worse ideas than my initial bad idea, but at least my initial Very Bad Idea has the weight of the fact that young people have never had any kind of skin in the game. Unless you count all of the debt we’re piling on them, but they tend to vote leftist anyway and government debt isn’t a problem unless it’s under a Republican administration. Even though tying the right to vote to not being treated as a dependent prevents young people who have struck out on their own from being affected, it still doesn’t make my idea a good one.
In the words of the great poet Joseph Belladonna, “Independence means owning your decisions.”
What does everybody think? I’d love to hear everyone else’s bad ideas, or better still, good ideas.
Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog