Orszag: Make Voting Mandatory

Revolving-door veteran Peter Orszag, formerly of OMB and currently of Citigroup, proposes making voting mandatory in a piece over at Bloomberg.

Some poll results show why this is a bad idea:

In short, the median voter in America is a boob.

And the median voter is precisely who decides elections. Politicians, at least successful ones, must pander to people who have roughly the same politico-economic acumen as my cats. Hence the slew of unwise policies in both the Republican and Democratic party platforms.

Keep in mind that the least educated people are also the least likely to vote. Mandatory voting, by bringing the uneducated to the polls, would make the median voter an even bigger boob than he already is. This could well lead to even worse policy outcomes than we have now.

But consequentialism isn’t all there is to it. There is also the principle of the thing. This is a free country. Voting is a choice, not a duty or an obligation. People should be able to choose for themselves whether or not to vote. Peter Orszag shouldn’t make that decision for you.

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One response to “Orszag: Make Voting Mandatory

  1. Pingback: The Good-Citizen Economist | Inertia Wins!

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