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Old 08-18-2013, 06:31 PM   #201
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This note from Madison, written 30 years after the constitutional convention seems to say that he had argued for a requirement that one house of Congress should only represent property owners. However, 30 years later, with expanded suffrage, the feared theft hadn't occurred. Property: James Madison, Note to His Speech on the Right of Suffrage
Thanks, that was an interesting link. And another reminder of the depth and quality of the reflection that the founders used in their deliberations.

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His explanation seems to be upward mobility. Why should I vote to soak the rich if I expect to become the rich? IIRC, Tocqueville had the same observation (no reference).
Hmm, that's good in theory, but doesn't match my read of human behavior.
1) People seem very focused on their present situation. The future? "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it,"
2) To the extent they do think about the potential of becoming wealthy, I think many people would say that if they were really flush they wouldn't mind paying a lot in taxes. So, they would vote for such taxes on "the rich." Of course, if they do end up with a high income, their perspective changes. It turns out virtually everyone in the US is already rich--in the view of the vast majority of living humans (or from the perspective of human history).

Kinda like those folks who say "80 years old? I'll be feeble and broken down, I hope I don't live that long!" But, somehow, almost all the 80 year olds are eager to draw breath for another year.
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:15 PM   #202
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Thanks, that was an interesting link. And another reminder of the depth and quality of the reflection that the founders used in their deliberations.


Hmm, that's good in theory, but doesn't match my read of human behavior.
1) People seem very focused on their present situation. The future? "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it,"
2) To the extent they do think about the potential of becoming wealthy, I think many people would say that if they were really flush they wouldn't mind paying a lot in taxes. So, they would vote for such taxes on "the rich." Of course, if they do end up with a high income, their perspective changes. It turns out virtually everyone in the US is already rich--in the view of the vast majority of living humans (or from the perspective of human history).

Kinda like those folks who say "80 years old? I'll be feeble and broken down, I hope I don't live that long!" But, somehow, almost all the 80 year olds are eager to draw breath for another year.
Yeah, some of those guys had thought about this. Maybe it's classical education - Athens and Rome. I think a fair number also had experience writing state constitutions.

The mobility thing seemed plausible to me, but I can't prove it. I assume there's some likelihood factored in there. The difference between "I've got one chance in a million of making it big" or "If I don't make it, I expect my son will".
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