A new poll says that half of all millennials in America would give up their right to vote in exchange for having their student loans wiped out. Mock them if you want—I bet most Americans would sell that right for far less.
Americans are not necessarily “well informed” voters, but one thing that most people intuitively grasp is that their vote will not make a difference. America is an oligarchy. Our political system does what it is designed to do, which is to respond to the will of the rich. Were all of the non-rich people in America to give up their right to vote, our political outcomes probably would not change very much. In a purely economic sense you can make a good argument that it is rational for people to sell their vote—after all, then at least they get the money that the rich currently spend buying advertisements designed to induce them to vote a certain way. Cut out the middleman. Of course we should reform our broken system and all, but until we get around to that, I wouldn’t be too quick to laugh at people willing to sell off a non-performing asset.
For Americans with student loan debt, the average amount is around $30,000. It is certainly not just millennials who would give up their right to vote for a check that large. Less than 60% of people use that right, even in presidential election years. Scrape off, say, the top 10% of idealists, and another 5% of wealthy people who don’t need the money, and it’s an absolute certainty that most of everyone else would sell out for $30k.
But why pay that much? Much more affordable to do it auction-style. What is the lowest price you would accept for your right to vote? I would bet that if you walked down the street of any town in America offering a thousand bucks in cash, you’d do a brisk business. The cynics would grab it first, and the masses of people talented in twisted self-justification—most of us—would follow right behind.
What would you sell your right to vote for? Put your absolute minimum price in the comments. And please be honest. We don’t have a functioning democracy. Honesty in selling out is all we have left.