Voting Rights

Supreme Court Won't Lift Freeze In Florida Felon Voting Rights Case

The state has barred hundreds of thousands of residents with felony records from voting without first paying off their court fines and fees.


Florida has barred hundreds of thousands of residents with felony records from voting without first paying off their court fines and fees. Earlier this year a federal judge ordered the state to let many of those citizens vote, but another court then temporarily blocked the order—and today, by a 6–3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.

The ruling is a setback for voting rights activists and civil liberties groups' attempts to re-enfranchise an estimated 775,000 Floridians with felony records in time for this year's elections. It's a victory for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida state government, which have been fighting multiple lawsuits challenging a law that requires Floridians with felony records to prove they've paid off all their outstanding fines before they can register to vote.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle ruled in May that the Florida government could condition voting on paying off court fines and fees, but he also ruled that blocking offenders who are too poor to pay their fines is discriminatory, violating both the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and the 24th Amendment's prohibition on poll taxes.

After the Florida government appealed, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay on Hinkle's ruling. Earlier this month, the Campaign Legal Center petitioned the Supreme Court to lift the stay. A majority of the Supreme Court's conservative justices, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, declined to do so in an unsigned opinion.

"This is a deeply disappointing decision," Paul Smith, vice president of the Campaign Legal Center, said in a statement. "Florida's voters spoke loud and clear when nearly two-thirds of them supported rights restoration at the ballot box in 2018. The Supreme Court stood by as the Eleventh Circuit prevented hundreds of thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida's primary election simply because they can't afford to pay fines and fees."

Liberal Supreme Court justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, writing that today's decision "prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida's primary election simply because they are poor."

Sotomayor also criticized the 11th Circuit's stay.

"The Eleventh Circuit's 'bare order' staying the District Court's decision does not 'provide any factual findings or indeed any reasoning of its own,' and '[t]here has been no explanation given by the Court of Appeals showing the ruling and findings of the District Court to be incorrect,'" she wrote.

The fight over felon voting rights in Florida began in 2018, immediately after Florida voters decisively passed Amendment 4, a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to those with felony records. Florida was one of a small group of states that enforced a lifetime voting ban for anyone with a felony record, and Amendment 4 was hailed as one of the largest single expansions of the franchise in recent history.

Arguments over how to implement the amendment began immediately. The amendment's language said that voting rights would be restored "upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation," but it did not say whether "all terms" included financial obligations imposed by courts. 

Florida Republicans, including Gov. DeSantis, argued that it did, and they passed a bill making voting eligibility contingent on first paying off court fines and fees. Civil rights groups say that amounts to a poll tax, and several of them filed lawsuits last year challenging the new law at both the state and federal levels.

The Fines & Fees Justice Center has found that Florida courts, which are funded almost entirely through fines and fees, had "115 different types of fees and surcharges, the second highest number in the country." As a result, WLRN reported, Florida felons would have to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars to restore their voting rights.

At trial this April, state officials repeatedly admitted they couldn't easily track how much someone owed in criminal fines and fees; the documents were often scattered across multiple county agencies. In a withering opinion, Hinkle noted that "even with a team of attorneys and unlimited time, the State has been unable to show how much each plaintiff must pay to vote under the State's view of the law."

Hinkle's ruled Florida must create a clear and quick system for determining voter eligibility, and that the state couldn't disqualify felony offenders who had a court-appointed attorney or had their fines converted into civil liens, which could potentially restore voting rights to a massive number of those with felony records in the state.

But Hinkle's order is now stayed until after an August 18 hearing before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the same day as Florida's primary elections. It's unclear whether the case will be cleared up before the general election in November.

The Supreme Court's decision not to lift the stay means that currently disenfranchised Florida voters will be blocked from registering for Florida's primary elections before the July 20 deadline.

"My heart went out to the countless number of returned citizens who were looking forward to participating in an election maybe for the first time, or the first time in a long time," Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, told The Washington Post. "To see their hopes dashed like that, because of politics, that really brought me to tears."

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  1. Hinkle ruled in May that the Florida government could condition voting on paying off court fines and fees, but he also ruled that blocking offenders who are too poor to pay their fines is discriminatory

    This is why Hinkle makes the big bucks.

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  2. Doesn’t Florida realize this is the most important election ever?

    1. Apparently they do – – – – – –

    2. #FloridaManVotesMatter

    3. The only problem with allowing felons to vote, is that as a group they tend to favor gun control.
      Can’t have our potential victims being armed!

  3. “It’s a victory for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida state government, which have been fighting multiple lawsuits challenging a law that requires Floridians with felony records to prove they’ve paid off all their outstanding fines before they can register to vote.”

    If a state has an income tax and/or property taxes, I’m not sure your vote should count if you haven’t or don’t pay any taxes.

    Anything that puts a monkey wrench in the machinery of wealth redistribution is a good thing–so long as your rights are still guaranteed.

    It’s not the felon vote I’m worried about. It’s the parasite vote.

    Make an exception for veterans.

    1. Florida does not have income taxes.

      1. Do they have property taxes?

        1. Yes, Florida does have property taxes. I lived in FL 28 years, and never had a year when my property taxes didn’t go up.

          1. That’s how it usually goes. No state income tax means high property taxes.

            1. No state income tax means high property taxes.

              No, it doesn’t.

              There’s literally not a single county in Florida where the median property tax bill exceeds $3,000. There’s only one over $3,000 in Wyoming, the county with Yellowstone in it. Washington has one county where it exceeds $4,000, and two others where it exceeds $3,000. Nevada and South Dakota have not one where it exceeds $2,000.

              On the other hand, every county in New Jersey has a median property tax bill in excess of $4,000, and most exceed $5,000. Most counties in Connecticut have a median property tax bill in excess of $5,000, with two where it “just” exceeds $4,000 and one where it’s over $3,000. Massachusetts, downstate New York, Chicagoland, and coastal California for Sonoma to San Diego, all made of counties where the median property tax bill exceeds $3,000.

              Oh, the property tax rates might be higher in no-income-tax states, but the tax bill, the actual money you have to pay and which the state collects? Each mill on a small single-family dwelling valued at $900,000 is more tax than three mills on one valued at $200,000.

            2. Nope. Tennessee checking in, high sales tax (consumption, as it should be), moderate to low property tax (outside Nashville) and no income tax

            3. Not exactly. Florida uses the kinds of consumption taxes that happen to extract money from non-residents as well as residents. Sales taxes, taxes on Hotels and on resorts, that sort of thing. We can control out taxes to a certain extent by what we buy, and which county we buy in for sales taxes.
              As the alligators say “send more tourists, the last ones were delicious”.

    2. 24th Amendment:
      “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.”

      And no, veterans should not have special voting rights over any other citizen. Being in the military can not give people a supercitizen status.

      1. Perhaps Nina Totenberg can craft an argument as to why that doesn’t apply to the states.

      2. Molly,

        Maybe I wasn’t clear in that I wasn’t talking about federal elections.

        “If a state has an income tax and/or property taxes, I’m not sure your vote should count if you haven’t or don’t pay any taxes.”

        Why should people who don’t pay taxes in California be represented in California’s legislature?

        Again, their rights are already guaranteed.

        One of the great things about consumers, entrepreneurs, and markets is that the people who benefit from purchases are the same people who pay for the purchases. It’s a natural brake on spending. I’ve always wanted an all steel body Willys gasser so I can drag race it on the weekends, but then I’d have to pay for it–and those things are expensive!

        If you want to buy me one, on the other hand, I won’t stop you. In fact, why don’t we take a vote on whether Molly buys Ken the hot rod of his dreams?

        All in favor say, “aye”!

        P.S. The Constitution does a really good job on some things. Other things not so much. I’m willing to abide by the provisions of the Constitution because the things I like about it are so good that I’m wiling to suffer the bad stuff, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There are a couple of things I’d change in a minute–starting with commerce clause.

        1. You actually doubled down, wow.

          Do you think anyone believes that if poor people voted Republican you wouldn’t have a different principle?

          1. that if poor people voted Republican you wouldn’t have a different principle?

            Poor people do vote Republican. Or do you actually believe that all the rich people eschew places like Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, and instead live in Jackson, Tennessee and North Platte, Nebraska?

            1. Yeah, Tony’s stereotypes are a little out of date.

              Ken’s desire for only taxpayers having the franchise is more snobbery than class warfare.

              1. I agree. It’s a dangerous road to go down to deny someone the vote merely because they haven’t financially contributed. What about sales taxes? What about someone who has taxes taken out but then doesn’t earn enough and gets a 100% refund?

                Even if I agree that I don’t like the idea of people who don’t put into the system being able to vote themselves something out of the system– that’s Democracy. It’s a messy road to go down.

              2. I was accusing him of naked cynical partisanship, not class warfare.

                1. Maybe remove the plank from your eye before worrying about the speck in his eye. If you want tank partisanship, read any of your posts.

                  1. I’m partisan mostly because the other team is fucking insane. And I don’t pretend otherwise by slapping allegedly hip labels on myself like libertarian or classical liberal.

                    Picking a team is the adult thing to do. Undermining democracy for the sake of the fucking insane people satisfies that particular principle, but it violates the one about not ruining the world via fucking insanity.

                2. Just quit being a dumbass. Go collect your thoughts somewhere for a decade or so before you come back

                  1. Maybe you should try not being so much of a jackass yourself.

            2. It’s hard to buy you didn’t get what was meant, which was ‘if most poor people…’

              1. Ah, I didn’t realize I was supposed to re-interpret the words into something he didn’t actually say.

          2. Your comment kind of reminds me of the confusion that Michael Moore labors under. He always tries to paint Republicans as wealthy elites, then turns around and makes a crack about always needing a Republican friend because he can come over and fix your car.

          3. If you’ve read literally any post by Mr. Buttplug or Rev. Kirkland, you’d know that poor people overwhelmingly vote Republican.

            And if you’ve read my comments you’d know the Democrats are now officially the party of billionaires.


            1. Poor brown people—the ones who inhabit prisons.

              1. SOMEBODY has to feed the prison-industrial-judges-lawyers-and-cops-and-social-workers complex! Else HOW would we force poor people to cough up endless bucks for “anger management therapy” and “alcohol abuse therapy” and “love your Government Almighty therapy” mandated classes to make amends for having tried to sell “loosie” cigarettes?! They should be GRATEFUL for not having been CHOKED TO DEATH for their offenses!

                If not brown people, then WHO will fill this vitally essential role? Not me!!! You?!?!?

                1. Poor brown people have a lot of practice after all.

        2. Also warte nicht länger, melde dich jetzt gleich auf ao huren an, erstelle dein eigenes

      3. Well that’s simple then! It’s not a Tax it’s a Fine! /sarcasm

        1. Well, yes, that is indeed simple. It’s not a tax it’s a fine. But wait….

          ….the Chief Justice is on hand. Under the Roberts ACA precedent, we can deploy the special magic of a “saving” construction, to convert a fine into a tax, so as to save a law from being unconstitutional. Yippee !

          Oh, unyippee. It’s the wrong way round. We want to deem a fine to be a tax in order to sink a law, not to save it. There’s a Robertsian “saving” construction precedent, but not a “sinking” construction precedent.

          Worse, even if there was an arguable case that Florida fines are really taxes, in would swoop the Roberts “saving” construction to say that if there’s any way we could characterise the fines as not taxes, so as to save the Florida law, we should. So Roberts has moved the goalposts for deeming Florida fines to be taxes to sink the Florida law, way out into mid Atlantic. Not gonna happen.

      4. I don’t know what I think about either this ruling or the policy itself, but a fine is not a tax.

      5. MollyGodiva,
        Didn’t do too good at Reading Comprehension did you? Don’t worry the author of this article didn’t do too well either.
        The Law reads “upon completion of all terms of sentence including parole or probation,”. A fine, restitution and other costs are part of the sentence. If they haven’t been paid then the sentence has NOT been completed. IT IS NOT A POLL TAX.

        I agree that some people can’t afford to pay and that is a problem. There should be a way to have fines, restitution and costs reduced or eliminated, but, that is not part of this law.

        1. I was responding the the commentator who mentioned taxes.

          1. My apologies.

    3. OT: Ken, have you heard the latest news about the Washington nee Redskins? From the NY Post:

      Nothing to do with the name change. The rumor is that Snyder was literally having some of the cheerleaders pimped out; to who, I don’t know. ‘Fuck this guy, or it’ll cost you your job’ sort of thing.

      Or it could be the garden-variety hostile workplace complaint.

      1. I mean, Any Given Sunday came out 20 years ago.
        None of this should be surprising

      2. Didn’t hear the cheerleader angle but heard it was trading sex with journalist to kill stories to protect executives and players from their off the field issues.

      3. I suppose I’ll die a Redskins fan, which means my favorite team is no longer in the NFL.

        1. And it’s meh:

          A bunch of, ‘this suite owner slapped my ass,’ and ‘my boss was mean to me and said I was ugly.’ A few, ‘he constantly asked me out’. Wrong, but meh.

          The rumors before the bombshell were far more salacious, including bribing refs to fix games. Shit, the Dallas Mavericks stuff was likely worse.

          1. If the Redskins were bribing officials to win games, they didn’t get their money’s worth.

      4. I’ve got the new name for the team.

        The Washington Strong Womxn.

        1. Will Heather Swanson be on the team?

      5. These stories have been kicking about DC for a decade. Scuttlebutt from the Hill can/often is inaccurate, and reported without consequence.

        Being wrong about the Redskins, and now, to a lesser extent, the Caps & Nats is actually important to the locals, and can lead to newscasters’ departure. Sports rumors around here are usually accurate.

    4. ‘Service = Citizenship.’

      I don’t know that Heinlein was wrong.

      1. Is the only relevant service military? So, groups largely excluded from the military per se should have no voice?

        1. Who said that?

          Saying that voluntary military service should be a legitimatize path to citizenship doesn’t exclude other paths at all.

          1. So libertarian. Kill for the State, get rewarded!

            1. God can you be anymore of an empty caricature?

              1. More empty than the caricature of a soldier being offended by a comment criticizing soldiers?

        2. It wasn’t in the book, IIRC.

          I suspect your idea of service and mine differ considerably.

          1. Anyone could volunteer for Federal Service. The only way you could be turned down was if you couldn’t understand the oath. If you were blind and in a wheelchair, they had to find a job for you.

            1. I was thinking more of the types of jobs available. I doubt Heinlein would have accepted, “Community Organizers for Otherkin Rights,” as the type of Service he was talking about. Physical characteristics though, shouldn’t matter—it was the willingness to sacrifice one’s time, energy, occasionally their life to the collective, that earned one the right to get a say.

        3. Is the only relevant service military?


          You sign up, take some screening tests, and then you get put where they need you.

          Military service is not at the top of the list.

      2. Service denotes institutions, and it is fairly benign to fashion those in the interest of a particular ideology (witness mandatory intersectionality worming its way through government now. Do you really want those people with citizenship exclusively?).

        Nevermind the mental naivete of at once complaining about government, yet putting them in exclusive control of who gets citizenship.

        That will work well.

        1. I don’t believe citizenship and voting in a state should necessarily be conflated.

          If Californians could no longer vote to help themselves to other people’s incomes unless they paid income taxes, they’d still be U.S. citizens.

          Incidentally, there are 49 states I’m not allowed to vote in, and because I don’t pay taxes in those states is as good a reason for that as any.

          1. So how would you prevent tyranny of the voters over the non-voters?

            1. They tyranny of the majority is always an issue with democracy. That’s why democratically elected politicians at the state level should mostly be limited to questions of taxes and spending.

              You may have notice the First Amendment starts with the phrase, “Congress shall make no law”.

              If the taxpayers aren’t willing to pay for something, that’s a pretty good indication that the money shouldn’t be spent.

              How do you account for all the parasites out there helping themselves to other people’s money courtesy of the people they vote for in Sacramento?

              If you can’t afford to house, feed, and educate a child, maybe you shouldn’t have children.

              1. You may have notice the First Amendment starts with the phrase, “Congress shall make no law”.

                Well, sure, it says that *now*. But, in your vision of voting rights, what is to stop the enfranchised class from amending the Constitution at will, to promote their interests *at the expense of* the disenfranchised class?

          2. Except specific voting laws are set by the states, but the right to vote is set federally. Or should we have specific mandates for federal elections and further encroach on federalism? Welcome to even more interference in regional affairs as those who are disenfranchised locally can always make their case nationally.

            I mean, cripes, and I thought people out of state donating to local elections was beyond the pale.

            There are no states where you strictly forbidden from voting baring some extenuating circumstance (which brings up the whole question of “rights”, but that is a discussion for another day). Claiming you can’t vote in the other 49, well, there is more than enough people willing to call your bluff and make all elections national.

          3. You don’t get to vote in those states because you don’t live there. It has noting to do with taxes.

            1. Yeah, but “because I don’t pay taxes in that state” makes more sense. Lots of people live in states and don’t vote or can’t vote because they haven’t established residency by whatever rules that state has set.

              The reason I don’t get food service from McDonalds is because I don’t give them any money.

              If you want to vote in a shareholder meeting at McDonalds, you need to be a shareholder.

              What’s wrong with either one of those?

              Again, we’re not talking about doing away with anyone’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. We’re talking about people who don’t pay taxes voting to enrich themselves at the taxpayers’ expense with little more than their desire to spend other people’s money as a justification.

              1. There are two types of people who don’t pay taxes, the very rich who can avoid taxes, and the very poor who don’t make enough to pay taxes. And we know that the poor don’t have the political power to affect policy, so you must be talking about rich people, and I agree that they are enriching themselves at the taxpayers expense.

                1. Your beliefs about who pays taxes and how much are factually incorrect.

                  Here are the latest stats I can find. They’re from 2017.

                  The top 1% of earners paid 38.5% of the income taxes received by the government.

                  The top 5% of earners paid 59.2% of the income taxes received by the federal government.

                  The top 10% of earners paid 69.1% of all the income taxes received by the government.

                  The bottom 50% (people with an adjusted gross income lower than $41,740) paid 3.1% of the income taxes collected by the government.


                  If the top 1% of earners are so politically powerful, why are they paying taxes at 38.5 times their proportion of the population?

                  . . . and we haven’t even started talking about double taxing shareholders at both the corporate level and when they’re paid dividends.

                  The reason the very wealthy are paying taxes at 38.5 times their proportion of the population isn’t because it costs us so much to send their kids to public schools, give them rent subsidies, pay for their Medicaid, pay for their food stamps, or because their kids take so much financial aid to attend universities, etc.

                  And if the bottom 50% are so politically weak, why are they paying income taxes as a tiny fraction of their proportion of the population? Do you mean something novel when you say that the poor don’t have any political power? They’re hardly paying any taxes–and they’re the ones getting most of the benefits of income redistribution.

                  Your beliefs seem to reflect Hollywood tropes about wealthy bad guys rather than having any basis in reality.

                  P.S. Nobody owes you anything because they earned income.

                  1. If the top 1% of earners are so politically powerful, why are they paying taxes at 38.5 times their proportion of the population?

                    Possibly because the average CEO salary is nearly 4,000% of the average salary? That even if they were taxed at only 10%, they would still end up paying the majority of taxes?

                    Per the Tax Foundation, the effective tax rate on the 1% fluctuates between 20 and 30%.

                    And if the bottom 50% are so politically weak…

                    Studies such as this would at least find a wash instead of the wealthy getting polices that benefit them 70% of the time.

                    It takes a certain amount of mendaciousness to in one breath complain about the effects of union money on elections, while denying the wealthy can’t buy policy wholesale.

                    1. “Possibly because the average CEO salary is nearly 4,000% of the average salary?

                      The upper 1% earned $515,371 annually in adjusted gross income.

                      50% had $41,740 in adjusted gross income.

                      The upper 1% are getting 12.3 times the median salary–not 40,000 times–and yet they’re paying taxes at a rate that is 38.5 their proportion.

                      That is not indicative of their political power.

                      That is contraindicative of their political power.

                      In the meantime, people still owe you nothing because they earned income, and even if they did earn 40,000 times the average person’s salary, they would still owe you nothing because they earned income. There is nothing about earning any multiple of the average person’s salary that entitles you to confiscate any portion of their income and redistribute it to people who make less than they do. The only reason the government manages to do this to the upper 1% of income earners is because they are politically weak.

                    2. Yes Ken, it is wholly fathomable that you could get 38.5% of 1.48 trillion by taxing $515,371 at 30%.

                      About 2579428 times.

                      Or about 1 million more than there are 1%.


                    3. Ken, your numbers are wrong. That $400K is the lower cut off to be in the upper 1% of earners, not the average.

                    4. “Yes Ken, it is wholly fathomable that you could get 38.5% of 1.48 trillion by taxing $515,371 at 30%.”

                      I guess you don’t want to see the facts because they completely ruin your fantasy about the political power of the wealthy, but the fact is that $515,317 is the split point at the bottom of the upper 1% of income earners’ AGI–and the upper 1% pay 38.5 times their proportion of the income tax population regardless of whether you want that to be true.

                      Meanwhile, the bottom 50% pay 3.1% of the income taxes received by the government–and yet they benefit the most from spending in a socialist income tax system whose primary purpose is redistribute income from the wealthy to the poor. “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need”–is this the first time you’ve heard that statement?

                      In addition, regardless of whether the break point for the upper 1% is $515,317, regardless of whether their average income is $2,301,449, and regardless of whether their income were 4,000 times the median person’s AGI–how much money the upper 1% earns income does nothing to entitle you to a portion of their income.

                      Because someone makes $1 billion a year only justifies confiscating their income to a leech, and, yes, the political power is with the leeches. After all, the upper 1% are getting the blood sucked out of their backs to the extent that they pay incomes taxes at 38.5 times their proportion of the income tax population. If the 1% were just as powerful as leeches, they’d only pay 1% of the income taxes. If they were more politically powerful than the leeches, they’d pay less than 1% of the income taxes received by the federal government every year.

                    5. Ahem.

                      $1.48 trillion (total income tax revenue) – 39% = $902,800,000,000 total paid in taxes.

                      Double check the work: $3,009,333,333,333 (total income) – 30% tax rate = $902,799,999,999.9.

                      And note that’s even attempting to be exceedingly generous with you as the top google result of what is the effective tax of the 1% gives a figure of 24.7%.

                      But onward!

                      Top result in google for “how many people are the 1%. 1.6 million. Scroll down a bit and you get 3.3 million.

                      $3,009,333,333,333/1.6 million = $1,880,883 average.

                      But wait! There’s more!

                      $3,009,333,333,333/3.3 million = $911,919 average.

                      Not only couldn’t you be bothered to check or think through your “facts”.

                      I recall nothing I stated concerning the rich should be taxed more, only that your math and logic are highly suspect


                    6. “I recall nothing I stated concerning the rich should be taxed more, only that your math and logic are highly suspect”

                      Your distractions are your own problem. My first, second, and last assertion has always been that the upper 1% are paying 38.5 times their proportion of the population of income tax payers. This underscores the fact that their political power has no apparent value. In fact, not only are the bottom 50% the primary beneficiaries of the income tax, they only pay a tiny fraction of the income taxes relative to their proportion of the tax paying population.

                      Top 1% pay 38.5% = they pay 38.5 times their proportion.

                      Bottom 50% pay 3.1% = they pay .062 times their proportion.

                      The idea that the wealthy are politically powerful is undermined by the facts.

                      Meanwhile, there shouldn’t be anything confusing about the income tax being about wealth redistribution from the wealthy to the poor. That’s the intended purpose of the income tax. Have you people lost your minds?

                  2. The 1% own 40% of the wealth, and that is only going up.
                    But my main gripe is that you are talking about income taxes only. There are many other types of taxes that the poor pay.

                    1. “The 1% own 40% of the wealth, and that is only going up.”

                      Please see my comment above about what justifies confiscating people’s income.

                      Because someone earned income doesn’t suggest you or the government has a right to it in any way. Because they earned a lot of income doesn’t justify stealing their money either.

                      “But my main gripe is that you are talking about income taxes only. There are many other types of taxes that the poor pay.”

                      You mean property taxes?

                      Like the property taxes homeowners pay on their homes to pay for local public schools that the wealthy don’t use?

                      I have no problem with sales taxes. Sales taxes are the most voluntary form of taxation because people can choose not to pay them if they don’t want–on a transaction by transaction basis. If the government sets the sales tax too high, they discourage buying to the point that they start losing money. It brings market forces to bear on taxation itself that way.

                      But if we’re talking about the political power of the wealthy, it’s entirely appropriate to look at the way they’re treated by income tax system. The fact is that the upper 1%, upper 5%, and upper 10% are all getting reamed by the lower 50% +1, and if that isn’t indicative of their real political power, I don’t know what is. And when you speak to people about the wealthy about these statistics, they mostly seem to think that this is the way things should be–because of the influence of socialism.

                      They can hardly imagine providing for themselves and it frightens them to think they might have to provide for themselves, so they support pillaging the wealthy–never stopping to think about where economic growth comes from, how much it costs them to keep the bureaucracy to redistribute income in place, what would happen to all that money if the government weren’t redistributing it, etc. The reason they act like leeches is because they think like leeches.

                    2. Ken Shultz:
                      The rich get rich from the government. They use the police to protect their property, the courts to resolve their differences, they rely on laws of the state to protect their intellectual property and patents. Their employees were educate using public funds, and in many cases, their employees are on welfare because they don’t pay enough. This list goes on and on. So yes, they should be taxed according to their income. I am not a fan of property taxes for non-monetary assets.
                      Sales taxes are the worst because they hit the most regressive against the poor.
                      And there is clear data that those policies are enacted based on who donate to politicians and poplar opinion is less important.

                    3. “The rich get rich from the government. They use the police to protect their property, the courts to resolve their differences, they rely on laws of the state to protect their intellectual property and patents.”

                      I appreciate you trying to justify the theft of other people’s incomes. That’s exactly what you should try to do in these circumstances–rather than deny the facts. However, what you’ve cited doesn’t justify anything.

                      If government has any legitimate purpose at all, it is to protect our rights. We have police to protect our rights from criminals. We have criminal courts to protect our rights from the police. We have civil courts to protect our rights from each other. We have a military to protect our rights from foreign threats.

                      None of these depend on a person’s income level. The poorest person in the country does and should enjoy all the protection of all those rights regardless of their ability to pay.

                      To suggest that wealthier people have more rights than others so they forfeit more of their income is to assume that poorer people have fewer legitimate rights–and that assumption is false. It has no basis. Your right to be protected from criminals, the police, the protection of your contractual rights, and your protection from foreign threats is the same regardless of income level.

        2. You have to have some way of ensuring that 50% +1 don’t turn around and try to bankrupt the 50% -1. Do it by net federal taxes paid if you want. I think we’re seeing that letting the populace, as a whole, vote themselves free shit, isn’t going to work for too much longer.

          1. They’re mostly just voting to move some wealth from the private sector to the public sector where it will be used more efficiently. Not that they get the chance more than once a half-century or so.

            But endless wars, sure. Give me three! They’re on sale.

            1. They’re mostly just voting to move some wealth from the private sector to the public sector where it will be used more efficiently.

              If they think that, they’re not yet of voting age.

              But endless wars, sure. Give me three! They’re on sale.

              You’re making me dizzy.

            2. “They’re mostly just voting to move some wealth from the private sector to the public sector where it will be used more efficiently.”

              Fucking LOL. Put down whatever drug you’re ingesting, and consider that you are at an (allegedly) website devoted to the free market, liberty, and private enterprise.

              ‘Public sector use wealth more efficiently’… Jesus. Dude, you’re beyond hope.

            3. Name me one thing that the public sector does more efficiently than the private sector? Hell even defense is debatable.

              1. The market mechanism is useful in a couple specific ways, but nobody serious ever thought it could provide basic needs at a universal scale. That’s what governments do, and they can utilize the market mechanism however they see appropriate to contribute to the end social goals. Efficiency happens in a sector like healthcare and other welfare programs because they act on an insurance model, and the bigger the pool the better it works.

                1. Welfare is one of the least efficient examples you can make. So is Medicare and Medicaid. You also didn’t give an example but made a bunch of generalized and rather questionable assertions. Thanks for proving my point.

                  1. Since this is quantifiable, conventional libertarian wisdom is not sufficient. Liberals think Medicare is more efficient than the private sector because that’s what the numbers say (and what the government requires, in fact), and The Heritage Foundation disagrees because, as far as I can tell, the pages! Look how many pages of rules! There are indeed a lot of pages.

                    1. As a former medical staff, I preferred dealing with insurances far more than Medicaid and Medicare. Both federal programs were a nightmare and often limited us on how much care we could actually provide. Also,they are only cheaper because they pay pennies on the dollar.

              2. Also money isn’t wasted on corporate profits.

                1. No, it is wasted on government waste. See any report on waste and fraud of any governmdnt project ever. Reason tends to run at least one story a week on government waste and fraud. Again, thanks for proving my point.

                  1. Agreed!

                    Short way of putting it: Where do you get better service? At the DMV? Or at your local grocery store?

                    Higher level of Government Almighty involvement = less efficiency and less concern about the customer! You don’t like what I deign to stoop so low as to dish out to you? Convince 51% of the voters, and THEN I just MIGHT give you what you want! Or at least, I will PRETEND to think about it!

                    1. Where do you get your financial planning from, the Social Security administration or Lehman Brothers?

                      Fraud exists in any program public or private as one cost of doing business. It’s estimated to be 5% of costs for the private sector, and government programs can have more or less depending on the program. But you can make mitigating fraud and waste a priority if you want. You can even have a good DMV experience. Vote for people who prioritize it. Nothing is magical; hence, markets aren’t magical.

                    2. “Where do you get your financial planning from, the Social Security administration or Lehman Brothers?”

                      Good point! I have to recall that one from time to time… I trust financial advisors as far as I can throw them, generally… Low risk, low gain, high risk, high gain, AND high potential losses! The poor are often HIGHLY dependant on Social Security, yes…

                    3. Lehman Brothers were not ‘Financial Planners’, you nitwit. You morons don’t understand what you rail against
                      And getting retirement advice form the SSA? Pfft

                  2. I am not counting on social security. I am investing in my pension plan at work and investing heavily in high risk markets because they give the best returns.

                    1. I also lost $6000 through mlMay but have since had $8000 made in my investments. So currently my pension is $2000 better despite COVID.

                2. Corporate profits fluctuate between about 5% and 10% of GDP. Eliminating them would therefore yield a boost to everybody else of a little under 10% of income – assuming no ill effects of the elimination 🙂

                  Of course very little of corporate profits goes into buying fatter cigars for shareholders. Most of it goes on more productive investment – ie jobs for people putting up factories or designing computer programs. Much of the rest goes on 401ks – ie paying old people a return on their savings, so they can spend money at the golf club. Which provides jobs for people at the golf club. So if you want to continue to pay pensions, and make productive investments, you’re not going to get the whole of that that extra 7.5% or so to spend. Maybe 2% ?

                  Meanwhile that dark capitalist system that yields those quite modest corporate profits has produced something like 700% growth in real income per capita during my working life. So trading that 700% for 2% seems like a poor deal to me. I fact you won’t even get the 2% – say a quarter of corporate profits, because at least that much is made overseas where you won’t be able to get your hands on it.

                  Really, it’s not a secret. Places that don’t have corporate profits are miserable dumps. And that’s because corporate profits are not free money handed out to undeserving fat old men with cigars, but the ordinary market compensation for the services that the owners of companies provide – capital. And yeah, those miserable dumps lack capital. And capital and the whole system that encourages people to create it, save it, use it productively and maintain it, is why
                  you live better than a subsistence farmer.

                  Corporate profits are not waste, they’re the price of capital; just as wages are the price of labor. You want to pay nothing for capital you’ll get none. Good luck with that.

                  1. “Corporate profits fluctuate between about 5% and 10% of GDP. Eliminating them would therefore yield a boost to everybody else of a little under 10% of income – assuming no ill effects of the elimination”

                    It should also be pointed out that profits are what keep prices as low as they can be.

                    Profit is defined as the difference between revenues and costs. Because your competitors won’t necessarily meet your price increases–they may just take market share away from you by keeping their prices lower than yours–the best and favored way to increase profits is to lower costs not to raise prices.

                    This is the primary reason why private enterprise pretty much always does things for less than the government can do them. Because the government isn’t focused on creating profits, they aren’t particularly interested in keeping costs as low as they can possibly be. Private companies are obsessed with keeping costs low because every penny they save goes into their pockets.

                    1. Yeah, that’s the 700% I was talking about.

                      Somebody did an exercise a while back on Walmart, to work out – of the “value added” by Walmart during Sam Walton’s lifetime, who got the benefits ?

                      1. Sam Walton – in profits
                      2. Consumers – in lower prices
                      3. Employees and suppliers – in better paying jobs. more sales etc
                      4. the government – in taxes

                      Wicked ol’ Sam finished up with about 1%. The other 99% went to consumers, employees etc and the government.

                      You pay a really high price for bilking Sam out of his profits.

          2. You have to have some way of ensuring that 50% +1 don’t turn around and try to bankrupt the 50% -1.

            I think you answered your own question:

            I think we’re seeing that letting the populace, as a whole, vote themselves free shit, isn’t going to work for too much longer.

            That’s how it is stopped, ultimately.

          3. Do you want to know how all of the “free shit” works in places like Europe? Because the governments there actually have to follow a budget. (Well, more of one than what we follow here.) They don’t have the reserve currency of the world so they don’t have the luxury of just spending whatever they feel like and demanding that the entire rest of the world shoulder the risk for all of that spending.

            Since the government is functionally incapable of sticking to any budget, it’s going to take some external force to stop the spending spree. That will happen when it’s the euro that is the world’s reserve currency and not the dollar. Suddenly the US’s sovereign credit rating will matter again.

            1. Considering the debt in Europe, I think you’re talking out your ass again.

              1. There are three European countries, Greece, Italy and Portugal, which have a higher debt to GDP ratio than the US.

                1. So it isn’t Europe that has a balanced budget but some European countries? Also,which ones do t have a debt and haven’t started so s form of austerity recently because they found they can’t pay for what they promised?

                2. And 3 or 4 other countries at about 100% compared to our 106%. The EU as a whole has a debt to GDP level of around 80%. That is certainly better than the US, but it is hardly evidence that they have internalized the notion that they “have to follow a budget”.

                  To put it another way, if the US had an 80% debt to GDP would you say that the US is living within its means?

                  1. The US would be doing a better job than currently.

                    The point is that they have to be at least a little bit more cautious about spending because they aren’t the world’s reserve currency and can’t offload as much risk due to their deficit spending as the US can.

                    1. “have to be at least a little bit more cautious” is a bit of a backtrack from “actually have to follow a budget”.

                    2. Overt never play football with ChemJeff because you’ll never know where he’ll move the goal posts next.

                    3. What I actually wrote:

                      “Because the governments there actually have to follow a budget. (Well, more of one than what we follow here.)”

                3. Debt ratios are pretty much nonsense, because they exclude the vast majority of debts. Which are – social security, medicare, and government employee pensions; and their foreign equivalents.

                  The real US debt position is far worse than the debt to GDP numbers indicate, but then the real European debt position is far worse than the US, because of their pension position (rapidly aging populations and slower economic growth.)

                  The daffodil is far more likely to take over as the world’s reserve currency than the Euro.

                  1. Anecdote alert re off the books government debt.

                    I recall negotiating a long term procurement contract with a department of the UK government a couple of decades back. The government officials were fairy dozy as you would expect, but out of the blue at one meeting an official from the Treasury turned up. He was stunningly brilliant. While the people from the actual department which was doing the buying, and theoretically understood the subject matter, had to be walked through subtle points veeeery slooooowly, the Treasury guy, even though he knew nothing about the subject matter, caught on immediately. Smartest guy I ever came across in business – not excluding ace investment bankers, top corporate lawyers, and the odd self made billionaire.

                    But we couldn’t work out where he was coming from in the negotiation, because sometimes he’d want to change things to cut the cost to the government, but sometimes he’d go the other way. It was a mystery.

                    Eventually we figured it out. He did not care at all what the real long term cost to the government was. Likewise whether the project was sensible or insane, beneficial or damaging. Those didn’t figure as issues, not even slightly.

                    The only thing that mattered to him was “Treasury Rules” and in particular, the Treasury accounting rules as to whether financial commitments entered into by the UK government in the current period but contractually due in later periods had to be accounted for as current government spending, or would stay off the books until the later period – maybe ten years in the future – when the cash had to be paid out.

                    Once we had figured that out, we could adjust our negotiating line to scoop up the maximum profits, ie real NPV, of the contract, while letting the Treasury guy slither between the cracks of his Treasury Rules, so as to keep the deferred spending (aka debt) off the books.

                    Of course I had come across similar efforts in the private sector – woefully amateur compared to this Treasury guy – but commercial accounting standards were much tighter and more realistic than the “Treasury Rules” and it’s much harder to hide stuff. Also the private sector executives do have at least some interest in the real cost of the project, rather than just its accounting presentation.

                    As the song goes, when you’re looking at government debt figures…it ain’t necessarily so.

        3. Most veterans myself included, take our oath to the Constitution seriously and we have learned to distrust the government. We tend to lean libertarian or small government conservative. Not all but a good size of the population. Go to any veteran website on Facebook or Reddit and see what they are saying. It isn’t exactly let’s give the government more power.

    5. As long as every citizen in a jurisdiction is subject to the authority of the government, and is a legal adult, that citizen should get a say in how that government is run.

        1. Why shouldn’t you be able to force citizens to do your bidding without their input on the matter? Some insignificant esoteric political philosophy reason no doubt.

          1. Yeah, the esoteric political philosophy reason is that those citizens who have shown themselves unwilling to abide by the laws the citizenry has made, should not have a say in determining the laws that law abiding citizens have to follow.

            It’s connected to the “social contract” theory – there’s a putative contract betwen the citizens as to (a) what the laws are, and (b) that you the citizen, having had your input, undertake to obey them. Break the deal to obey the law and you’ve broken the contract under which you get a say.

            There are obviously counterarguments –

            (i) there are a lot of laws, and most of us have broken some of them unawares (to which the counter-counter argument is that you (usually) have to try reasonably hard to come to the attention of the prosecuting authorities, so the people who lose their vote are, on average, considerably less law abiding than the rest.)

            (ii) what about minors, who chalk up felony convictions before they get to be alowed to vote ? (Which then brings in another point – felons are not the only disenfranchised citizens to whom the law applies; there’s minors too.)

            1. I was thinking of the proposal to only give the franchise to people wealthy enough to pay income tax. That’s patently absurd, but I understand that the felons question is more debatable.

              Maybe losing the right to vote for a time is a legitimate punishment. Maybe the right to vote is so basic that it shouldn’t matter. And most convincing to me is that the point of democracy is to give all stakeholders a say in how their own lives are governed, and who has a bigger stake than prisoners? There is no argument for denying the franchise because they would vote in a way we don’t like. Lots of people vote in a way I don’t like. And non-prisoners making policy for prisoners without their input will clearly have a bias against the interests of prisoners.

              1. I’m inclined to agree that “for a time” is a lot more reasonable than “forever.” Perhaps graduated to the seriousness of the offense.

                There’s a great deal of evidence that crime is strongly related to testosterone – hence the starring role played by men. But also hence the starring role played by young men. Most offenders’ offending tails off by about the age of 30, as the testosterone dose is reduced by anno domini.

                1. I just struggle with the social utility of disenfranchisement as a punishment. Locking dangerous people up has obvious utility, though I’m not even sure punishment for its own sake does. We don’t want them to vote because…?

                  1. Ah well, not everybody judges right and wrong by social utility. Not everyone is a utilitarian – some folk measure things by rules and principles. And even amongst utilitarians there’s a breed of rule-utilitarians who ascribe social value to upholding rules simply because they’re rules.

                    1. I’m one of those, especially when some brat challenges me on the finer points of table manners. Whether utilitarianism is truly distinct from everything else, or whether everyone participating in a political debate is a utilitarian in the end, the American political ethos certainly is. “The pursuit of happiness” is straight from Utilitarianism page 1.

                    2. I’m doubtful. Jeremy Bentham hadn’t even put pen to paper on utility by the time of the US Declaration of Independence. And the US Constitution is traditionally regarded as much more of a Natural Rights inspired concoction.

                      The phrase “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is constructed as a statement of unalienable Rights which is pretty much the opposite of a utilitarian schema.

                      Nor is there any inconsistency in pursuing happiness and a Natural Rights approach – you just have to pursue your happiness with the constraint of not treading on othe people’s natural rights. But so long as you avoid doing that, you’re good to go.

                2. I have experience with getting kids back their franchise after being convicted of a felony. In my former state, you need to file an application, giving the arresting authority the opportunity to object, get a court date, go to court, attest in front of a judge that you are reformed, get her to sign a writ. Then you need to personally send a copy of that order to your local police, the state criminal database, the FBI Arms database and follow up with them to ensure that the application was processed. None of this is straight forward or comprehensively explained in one place- in fact it is often explained in contradictory ways. Which is why many people pay a lawyer thousands of dollars to do what is effectively routing of paperwork. Or just never get it done.

                  At that point, our adult who maybe had a drug possession or breaking and entering when they were a stupid kid has regained the right to vote, own a firearm and sit on a jury. Having gone through that process several times, I can only come to the conclusion that the process is so bad because people want it to be.

                  I am actually VERY sympathetic with the idea of a felon losing their franchise while imprisoned or even while on probation. However, I lose that sympathy when I see just how difficult it is to regain these basic rights to vote or defend themselves. Florida’s rules don’t just say you need to pay fines, but that you must “Prove” that you have paid your fines. This strikes me as an intentional dodge to keep people off the registration rolls, and I am against it.

        2. The votes of those whom you would disenfranchise are a check against the tyranny of the remaining voters.

          It’s nice for Ken to claim that everyone’s rights would be protected regardless, but unless those in power are reminded that they have to keep that promise or face losing their jobs, it’s really just an empty promise.

          1. I really respect your commitment to letting all citizens — even convicted serial killers serving life sentences — retain their voting rights.


            1. I’m a little bit shocked that you saved a comment from me from all the way back in February. What else is in your database of saved comments from the regulars?

              1. If you did porn in your college days to make a buck or two, I have bad news for you. The internet is forever.

                1. No, it’s not. A lot of stuff is gone.

                  1. Gone from your view perhaps, but the Russkies have it all, ready for chemjeff’s run for the Senate.

              2. I’m not shocked that you have had countless idiotic hot takes shared here

    6. Why just tax? How about you don’t get to vote if the ADA doesn’t apply to you? It’s a law, subject to democratic input. But it doesn’t apply to you, so tough nuts. But who am I kidding, there are probably more libertarians on the dole than not. “Work with the system we have, not the one we want!”

      1. Well, it’s actually an interesting point.

        To which the official answer is that the 14th Amendment expressly contemplates disenfranchisement of criminals, and imposes a restriction of Congressional representation for disenfranchisement for other reasons.

        Which is the point at which the official answer loses a wheel. Because the official answer is that Section 1 – “deny to any person the equal protection of the laws” – forbids disenfranchisement for any other reason, cos that would be not “equal protection.”

        But that makes no sense because it’s Section 2 of 14A – ie the same damn Amendment – that imposes penalties on states for these other kinds of disenfranchisement. So under the official answer Section 2 provides a penalty in terms of House seats on States that disenfranchise any non criminals, while Section 1 says disenfranchising non criminals is unconstitutional. Section 2’s penalty provisions are therefore entirely redundant, because they could never apply. The state laws attracting them would already have been struck down by Section 1.

        The obvious, coherent and consistent answer is that the text of Section 1 does not cover voting rights. Voting rights do not figure in the “protection” of the law – which is stuff like the right to jury trial, where the law protects you.

        Fortunately for the legal profession, the obvious, coherent and consistent answer is not at all favored by precedent . Only Thomas occasionally hints at it.

        1. You missed the “without due process of law” part.

          1. I was hoping to stick to those parts of the 14th Amendment that were relevant to the discussion.

            But if we must :

            “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property”

            a vote is none of these, and even if it were

            “without due process of law”

            is fully accounted for by the elaborate due process by which you become a felon and suffer the legal penalty attaching thereto.

        2. Yeah, section 2 is used pretty exclusively for arguing for felon disenfranchisement vs. the argument that it’s one of those superfluous bits like the 10th amendment.

          Voting does seem to have been overlooked as one of the jobs of state governments that hasn’t been truly federalized. It’s hard to incorporate a right that isn’t written down in the constitution. Until it’s clarified with a court ruling or new amendment it will just be political interests trying to advantage themselves.

          1. Well there’s Art 1 Section 4, plus the 15th and 19th Amendments, so the Constitution isn’t entirely silent on voting.

            Plus of course the 14th Amendment Section 2 itself, which provides an inducement for States not to disenfranchise otherwise than for crimes.

            Until it’s clarified with a court ruling or new amendment

            There’s clarifications and clarifications. I feel sure you wouldn’t want SCOTUS to “clarify” the meaning of “equal protection of the laws” in Justice Thomas’ direction. If you want it actually clarified rather than made up according to judicial political whim, it’s best to leave it to an amendment. If you leave it to the judges, you don’t know where they’re going to land.

            1. I wouldn’t want my political opponents clarifying it by either means to be honest.

    7. Make an exception for veterans.

      The only good bug is a dead bug!

      1. Damn straight.

        The logic behind that goes all the way back to the ancient world.

        Voluntary service in the military should always be a legitimate path to citizenship.

        1. Yup. I wouldn’t give up my vote for no taxes.

          But more seriously I think if we had a system that taxpayers got to vote for house reps and Senators and the general public got to vote for only Senators; you could strike a good compromise there. Everyone would have a say in the make up of the courts and the laws governing them but the funding would be controlled completely by those who pay for it.

    8. “It’s the parasite vote. ”

      The idea of disenfranchising states that take in more federal money than they pay is enticing I’ll admit.

      1. States don’t pay taxes though.

        Individual people do.

        1. And states don’t take in much money. They contain Military bases, National Parks, and Indian Resrvations within their borders, neither of which they have jurisdiction over.

    9. Ken calls to order another meeting of Libertarians For Authoritarian, Bigoted Voter Suppression.

      Open wider, Ken. After January, you will be so busy having progress shoved down your clinger throat that you won’t be able to focus on anything else.

      Your betters, as always, thank you for your obsequious compliance.

      1. Thank you for your well reasoned argument.

  4. ” but he also ruled that blocking offenders who are too poor to pay their fines is discriminatory, violating both the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause . . . ”

    Implying that felons who recover their stolen loot pay their fines.
    So treating ex-felons unequally is required by the equal protection clause?
    Time to stop funding college loans, especially law schools.

    1. Watch for the “NOT wearing a mask” response with his exact verbiage.

  5. Well if Republicans can’t win outright, why not cheat huh?

    1. They’re just so right about everything. Excellent judges of character. Pesky citizens getting in the way of their self-evident superiority at governing.

    2. You’re saying the only way the left can win is with convicted felons.

      Yeah that makes sense.

      Fucking idiot.

      1. But it wouldn’t be cheating or tyranny. Just people voting.

        1. We should let the rapists vote about what constitutes consent, and let the wolves vote for which sheep and served for dinner

  6. >>attempts to re-enfranchise an estimated 775,000 Floridians with felony records

    ya. there’s a franchise fee. jeebus it’s not enough they get what 200 years of other felons did not?

  7. Not to worry.
    There’s a lot of dead people out there just dying to vote in Florida like they do in Illinois.

    1. I can’t decide if living in a world where facts don’t matter would be liberating or hopelessly confusing.

      1. liberating.

      2. Lots of Democrats apparently believe facts don’t matter.

        1. Citation needed.

          1. See the 1619 project. Green New Deal. Words are violence. Your stupidity above about public sector being more efficient than private sector. Etc ….

            1. Seattle’s Amazon Tax.

              1. So Democrats are more anti-fact because they do some policy you don’t like.

                1. No, they are anti-fact on a lot of policies as are the Republicans. You Asked for a citation that facts don’t matter to a lot of Democrats I provided a partial list of policies that are not based on facts. Just keep fellating the Democrats. It just shows you lack critical thinking and rely on tribalism. Good job.

                  1. I’d ask what you think the factual problem is with climate policy, but I’m afraid you’d tell me and I’d have to go down a freaking rabbit hole of insanity once again.

                    1. First, very little of the green New Deal is even feasible. Second, it leaves out the best answer, nuclear power. Third it’s a gimme list of progressive programs that have nothing to do with climate change. Fourth,the idea of a totally electric fleet us unfeasible because it would work in agriculture or construction or long haul trucking. Fifth, the economics of it are not feasible. Sixth, you were wrong to assume that my objections is based upon a “belief” that climate change isn’t real. However, I don’t believe science, I accept science. Nuclear, and probably orbital solar (and the outside possibility of fusion-it has actually came quite some distance recently towards being feasible) along with carbon capture and recycling, converting coal to natural gas etc is the best mixture. Most of this could actually be accomplished if the government got out of the fucking way.

                    2. Overt never play football with ChemJeff because you’ll never know where he’ll move the goal posts next.

                    3. So the solution is the oil lobby’s wishlist combined with some flights of fancy. Does it never occur to you to figure out why all your policy prescriptions align exactly with one evil corporate lobby’s self-serving proposals or another?

                      Because anyone trying to sell nuclear certainly isn’t coming from a place of market-focused limited government.

                    4. What part of that is even close to an oil company wishlist? Again empty talking points from you.

                    5. All the stuff that still requires drilling for fossil fuels.

                    6. In fact, if you study the history of the anti-nuclear movement, guess which industry funded it? That’s right the oil industry. As for the costs of nuclear, most of that is because of needless regulations that do little to promote newer safer reactor models but instead keep old, less safe models running past their retirement date. Once again the cost of nuclear is mainly due to government inefficiency. And if you actually believe the science, most climate scientist agree that newer nuclear reactors are the best way to combat climate change.

                    7. And there is nothing inheritently big government about nuclear. In fact, government is the biggest stumbling block right now to new reactor building, development of safer models, etc. Hypothetically, mini-reactors would actually require less government involvement than solar plants.

                    8. I’m totally in favor of nuclear as part of a clean energy portfolio. It wins every cost-benefit you can think of. It’s just not something that can exist in a free market, but that’s ok with me, and it’s ok with you too if we’re talking about all the oil and coal giveaways that you guys never object to.

                      What I reject are dismissals of solar and wind based on a curiously pessimistic assumptions about technological advancement. Curious because half your proposal is fantastical new technologies. Things the oil lobby won’t have to actually worry about any time soon, you see.

  8. If only they fought as hard to restore felons 2nd Amendment rights.

  9. My ex sicked the state on me to grab my professional license when I fell behind on child support. If the state can strip someone of their livelihood like that, I think they can demand paying fines and fees in order to vote.

    1. “At trial this April, state officials repeatedly admitted they couldn’t easily track how much someone owed in criminal fines and fees; the documents were often scattered across multiple county agencies.”
      Inept bureaucracy should not be a barrier to voting, and if the state can’t get their data together, they should default to let them vote.

    2. Also, it does not matter what you think, the voters of Florida decided otherwise.

      1. I think it depends on what your definition of served your sentence. If part of your sentence is fines and court fees, not paying them would arguably mean you haven’t completed your sentence.

        1. According to the Florida Supreme Court, which the US District Court accepted as disposive, it isn’t arguable. Your fines are part of your sentence. (I forget what they ruled on fees.)

          Anyway the idea that a sentence of prison is a sentence, and a sentence of a fine is somehow not a sentence, is major league gaslighting. Along with the idea that a fine is a tax.

    3. “My ex sicked the state on me to grab my professional license when I fell behind on child support.”

      What kind of pansy can’t or won’t support his children?

      1. What kind of pansy can’t or won’t pay off their court fines and fees?

      2. HOW can I pay my child support, as a professional, when the Government Almighty TAKES AWAY MY RIGHT TO WORK IN MY CHOSEN PROFESSION for any random reason at all? Government Almighty justified itself in saying that Government Almighty needed to PROTECT THE INNOCENT, STUPID CONSUMERS from unskilled and incompetent booger-pickers, and so, I as a booger-picker MUST have a license? And THEN Government Almighty YANKS my booger-picker license for a reason TOTALLY UNRELATED to my skill and competence as a booger-picker?!? WTF, is this NOT a thorough condemnation of the LYING ASSHOLEISHNESS of the Government Almighty?!?! Do one thing for one reason, and then TOTALLY change the reason why, later, on the voters?!?!

        “We’re taking your driver’s license because we see that you voted Republican, in the past”!

  10. The people of Florida voted almost two years ago to give felons the right to vote back. That should have been it, the legislature and governor should have implemented it cleanly and without extra barriers for them to vote. It is very disturbing that there are so many who are trying so hard to thwart the will of the voters. SCOTUS should have fixed this when they had the change, and their guiding precedent would require them to.

    1. This doesn’t really bother me so much. It promotes the likelihood that Democrats will be aggressive in stomping Republicans during the next few years.

      Enjoy your last gasp, clingers.

      1. Yeah, the fact that Democrats who controlled the governorship and the legislature in Florida from the end of the Civil War until the mid 1990s escapes all of y’all.

    2. If nothing else, it is disturbing that seemingly liberty minded folks are making the case against suffrage in the name of “government won’t bend to our will, so let’s remove political autonomy”.

      Nevermind this does nothing against corporate welfare (“money is speech”) or possibly reforming government.

      Nope, removing voting rights is the obvious fix.

      1. Voting rights are nothing to do with liberty. Liberty is the government letting you alone to do your thing without interference. Voting rights are your rights to have a share in picking the government. Totally different sports.

        In practice, voting rights and democratic institutions are generally helpful in preserving liberty, since dictators may dictate to get rid of your liberty.

        But you can perfectly well have all your liberties in a dictatorship, if the dictator is not inclined to abuse them. The problem is keeping them. But that is also a problem in a democracy. Liberty is taken away all the time by democratic institutions ultimately sustained by people exercising thier voting rights.

        1. “Liberty is the government letting you alone to do your thing”

          Except for voting apparently or wanting to exercise any political authority.

          “But you can perfectly well have all your liberties in a dictatorship”

          Yes, I can obviously have my liberty being under the absolute authority of someone else.

    3. There are no extra barriers. Felons simply have to complete their sentence, not just the prison term. The authors of the ballot initiative have explicitly testified in this case that complete included paying off the fines and costs that are part of a felony sentence. The only people trying “to thwart the will of the voters” are people like you, complaining that felons should be allowed to vote even if they haven’t completed their sentence, even though the voters have chosen otherwise.

      1. “At trial this April, state officials repeatedly admitted they couldn’t easily track how much someone owed in criminal fines and fees; the documents were often scattered across multiple county agencies. In a withering opinion, Hinkle noted that “even with a team of attorneys and unlimited time, the State has been unable to show how much each plaintiff must pay to vote under the State’s view of the law.””

        If the state does not even know who owes what, that means the felons have no way of knowing how to pay the fines, and that is a massive barrier.

        1. If the state does not even know who owes what, that means the felons have no way of knowing how to pay the fines,


          They have received each fine individually, at point of offense or judgement. They are not a massive bureaucracy trying to keep tabs on thousands of individuals.

          Each felon has all their own receipts. That’s all they have to keep track of. Themself. Why is that a burden?

          They didn’t keep track of their own paperwork? Of the money they, personally, individually, owed?

          Too bad.

          1. Ah, but even if they do pay all the fines, if the state does not have clear records (which they admit), then they state will still not clear the felons to vote.

        2. So your position now is, because it’s difficult to carry out the actual will of the voters, the courts should override that will in favor of some other approach.

          Well, that at least establishes you were being entirely disingenuous above.

  11. The Roberts court doesn’t seem too concerned with the intersection between rights and the practical availability of rights. If a state put its only polling place on Mars, people still technically have a theoretical right to vote, and that’s good enough. I mean as long as republicans keep winning obviously.

    1. it’s true. It’s like the government declaring that healthcare is a human right, but having no practical way of actually giving you healthcare, so you get on a 22 month waiting list.

      1. There are few problems that can’t be solved by spending a lot of money. The beauty of public healthcare in the US is that there is a robust private sector using everyone’s money incredibly inefficiently that we can simply repurpose, and maybe even have something left over for hookers and blow.

        1. There are few problems that can’t be solved by spending a lot of money.

          Like racism and poverty!

          1. Turns out soccer moms (or the new center of voting power according to Trump, boat people) don’t like spending money on poverty and racism.

            1. So why is poverty and racism such big issues in blue cities and states?

              1. People don’t like spending money on it there either.

                1. So the people who champion spending money to end racism and poverty (how does spending money end racism?) actually don’t really mean it?

                  1. To a degree they mean it.

                    1. To a degree they mean it.

                      Right up to the degree that they actually have to pay for it.

                2. How many trillions have been sent the last 55 years? We could have given every black person a check for $200k in 1965 (more than 1.5 million in today’s purchasing power) and been better off

        2. Define inefficiently. You make questionable assertions and than propose that the government would be better because of these questionable assertions. You then argue these as facts. But you rarely ever provide actual facts.

          1. Not wasting money on corporate profits is a very understandable efficiency and is inherent in the practice of making something public.

            1. Only if you buy the fiction that profits are inefficient and buy the even bigger myth that government doesn’t waste much more money in waste and fraud than the private sector.

              1. The VA is so totes more efficient than other hospitals

        3. Tony,

          I ain’t gonna kill ya….Hell, I’m gonna grant your greatest wish. I’m gonna show you a world without sin- er, with great public efficiency.

          1. We should let people who actually believe in competent governing to govern once in a while and see how that goes.

            1. I thought that was the Democrats according to you.And based upon the Obama, Carter and Clinton presidency, the cities of New York, Los Angeles, Portland etc, I would say at best it’s a mixed bag. Less freedom, higher taxes and continued deficits, wars, poverty etc.

              1. Can we exile all the republicans anyway just to make sure it is in fact they who are the problem?

                1. Tribalism. Good counterargument. Yes, it’s all the icky Republicans fault, the Democrats are pure as the driven snow. Somehow the Republicans haven’t been in charge in most of the cities or states I referenced for decades, going on nearly a century, yet they are the problem. God, are you really that sophomoric?

                  1. Have you ever actually been to one of these supposedly crime-ridden poverty-stricken race-war hellscapes you characterize cities as? Even blacky mcblackerville Chicago is a nice place full of very rich people.

            2. Jeezus Crisp

            3. Communism has never been tried correctly, either

  12. A felony convictioin is not DONE and OVER WITH until all the jail time, parole, probation, rahab, fines, fees, restitutions, community service imposed by the court with respect of THAT convition are taken care of. The “debt to society” is not paid until ALL that is taken care of.

    NOW, that said, I would bet that a goodly proportion of such burdens inposed fall somewhere between ridculous and excessive. And I’d also bet a signficant numberof the offenses labelled as “felony” level crimes should not be. But that is a different issue. Whatever unpleaseant consequences were levied by the court MUST be satisfied prior to one’s rights being restored. Leave taht all in place.

    BUT there is a desparate need to review all crimes so defined and remove many of them from the felonyb list. If a guy is travelling at 75 mph in a 70 zone, won’t even get pulled over. If the limit changes with little warning as it does in far too manby places, and drops to 50, NOW the poor sap is doing more than twenty over the posted speed, a felony reckless endagerment in most states. Or hoe about in my own county.. shooting ANY cat for any reason is a felon,y even if the cat is a nuisance feral cat harrrassing chickens. I have adopted Montana’s Four Ess treatment for that issue, but if caught…..

  13. As I read the amendment , it meant that all obligations imposed by the court had to be satisfied, And this was from sympathetic writers of the amendment who were writing for a group that was led from ex-felons.

    Now, it’s true that the group advancing the amendment wanted to word it in the most sympathetic light for the voters it cannot be ignored that the leaders of the grout fighting for the amendment probably thought that it was just as important to “pay your bills” as it was to “do your time.”

    1. “but it did not say whether “all terms” included financial obligations imposed by courts. ”

      The argument against this state law seems to be that “all” doesn’t actually mean “all”. I find that a bit dubious.

      OTOH, if the state doesn’t clearly notify the felon of all financial obligations, I’d agree that attempting to vote can’t exhibit the necessary mens rea to be a crime. So Florida has to up their game on informing felons of their obligations.

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  15. When the same people who question my individual right to free speech claim they would defend to the death my right to vote, I don’t believe them.

  16. The rich always have and always will keep the poor in their place.

    1. Is that why Americans are constantly changing places in the income hierarchy?

  17. If they want felons to vote, I have a simple solution to that. Make automatic death, without appeals allowed, the penalty for any mala in se felony…and bury the corpses in Chicago. They’ll be voting forever there, and they’ll vote straight Democrat, too!

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