With the national elections just weeks away, the campaigns of both President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are ramping up their efforts to persuade citizens to give them their votes. But rather than spend millions of dollars trying to persuade citizens to vote for them, it would be far more sensible for them to be allowed to buy votes from people who wanted to sell them.
Lest you think I’m being facetious, consider the status quo: Our money currently is taken from us via taxes and used to influence policy, and we don’t even get a few dollars for our votes in return. In an ideal world, politicians wouldn’t have this power at all. But since they do, we might as well get something for our vote.
The economic logic here is simple: If a person sells his vote, he would be made better off by the transaction, for he preferred what was being offered to his vote. The politician who bought the vote would also be made better off, for he would prefer the votes to the items or cash they exchanged for them.
The argument for vote buying
He goes on to counter several arguments against vote buying, relying largely on notions that seem steeped in libertarian ideology. He fails, however, to address the most obvious problems, one of which is that wealthy individuals who currently seek to influence elections have no guarantee that their money will produce the results they desire. Providing them with a guarantee encourages their participation and essentially transforms our democracy into a plutocracy.