Forbes Columnist Suggests Public Servants, Welfare Recipients Should Lose “Voting Privileges”

In an August 4 post titled “If On The Dole Why Do You Still Get To Go To The Poll?” Forbes columnist Bill Flax wrote, “Before we devolve into a Third World dictatorship where the mob denies the liberties of losing minorities we ought to ponder several potential solutions.” His list of suggestions:

  • A basic literacy assessment;
  • A non-partisan test ensuring competency of basic constitutional principles;
  • A stake in the community reflected by property, employment or other measures;
  • Restrict the franchise to lessen conflicts of interest regarding state employees, lobbyists, contractors, etc.;
  • Surrender one's voting privileges when seeking public assistance.

The rest of Flax's post touched on familiar right-wing falsehoods: half of Americans don't pay taxes; fighting poverty is a waste of money; the poor in America aren't really poor because they can buy appliances.

As a reminder, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned the institution of “basic literacy assessment[s]” and other “voting qualifications or prerequisites” based on race. Apparently, Flax thinks it's OK to discriminate against people based on their jobs -- public employees -- or economic status -- the recipients of “public assistance” -- by removing their ability to vote.

Though Flax's suggestion that voting rights should be rolled back came in a blog post, his writing is also published in Forbes magazine.

Flax's bio says he “live[s] in Cincinnati, Ohio and work[s] in the banking industry.” Last year, he had a book published called The Courage to Do Nothing: A Moral Defense of Markets and Freedom. The back cover says, “Read The Courage to do Nothing to learn economic truths ignored by the cultural elites determined to change America into a European-style socialist boondoggle.”