Back when the nation was first formed, the founding fathers adopted the colonial British policy of “qualified voting.” In feudal and colonial societies, where there is no such thing as public education, health or social care, it can be hard to tell who actually has a vested interest in the advancement of society, and who has only a vested interest in themselves. That’s the inevitable consequence of a nation in which every man is on his own; so, the notion that a landowner, or a person who paid a certain amount of taxes, had more say in the government was a pretty reasonable one.
America has long since passed its provincial origins, and the feudal system is a distant memory. At least, it is to some — as billionaire and venture capitalist Tom Perkins recently proved.
Addressing the audience at the Commonwealth Club (moderated by Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky, of course), keynote speaker Perkins was asked for one unorthodox idea that would “change the world.” He said:
“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes. But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”
So, Perkins delivered on an “idea that would change the world” — he just failed to mention that it was an idea that would change the world BACK.
While he gave no indication that he was joking at the time, he later said “I intended to be outrageous, and it was.” He also said that his proposal would “make you more angry than my letter to the Wall Street Journal,” which likened the Poors assault on the Makers to a wave of Nazi attacks during the Holocaust.
Make no mistake, Perkins feels legitimately Persecuted, as so many others on the Right seem to these days. In another interview, he said:
“The fear is wealth tax, higher taxes, higher death taxes — just more taxes until there is no more 1%. And that that will creep down to the 5% and then the 10%.”
Oh, don’t worry, Tom…for an oppressed minority under siege, the 1% seem to be doing pretty well these days. Having more money than 70% of your “oppressors” put together buys enough votes to keep your land secure for some time to come.
And that’s the Tom “Feudal” Perkins System.