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Billionaire suggests rich should get more votes

Billionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins has a new idea for voting rights in America: if you have more money, you get more votes.
Venture capitalist Tom Perkins in his office in San Francisco, Calif.
Venture capitalist Tom Perkins in his office in San Francisco, Calif.

Billionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins has a new idea for voting rights in America: if you have more money, you get more votes. 

Perkins unveiled his new idea at a forum titled "The War on the 1%" that was held Thursday in San Francisco in response to a request for a "60 second answer" for how to change the world. 

"The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get the vote if you don't pay a dollar in taxes," Perkins responded. "But what I really think is it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars, you get a million votes. How's that?"

Call it Citizens United on steroids, a world in which the 1% can quite literally buy votes, rather than simply using their money to sway voters. Perkins said after the meeting that he was speaking in hyperbole on purpose. "I intended to be outrageous, and it was," he said offstage after the forum according to CNNMoney.

Perkins specifically referenced the Jeffersonian concept that landowners should be the ones who vote, which has been suggested recently by conservative radio host Bryan Fischer, who advocated in favor of reverting to a system in which only property owners can vote.  

"You know, back in the day, in the colonial period," Fischer said, "you had to be a landowner, a property owner to be eligible to vote and I don't think that's a bad idea. And the reason is very simple: if somebody owns property in a community, they're invested in the community. If they're renters, they're going to be up and gone; they could leave the next day ... [P]eople that are not property owners - it's like people that pay no taxes, they have no skin in the game. They don't care about the same things that somebody does who is rooted in the community."

More money more votes?

Feb. 15, 201410:33

Perkins has become one of the primary defenders of what he believes is a war on the wealthy being waged by progressives. He came under criticism late last month for an article he wrote comparing the treatment of the rich to the Nazi persecution of the jewish community. He acknowledged at the forum that his language went too far. 

"You shouldn't compare anything to the Holocaust, for example, because it's incomparable," he said. 

But Perkins ripped President Obama for starting the "demonization of the 1%."

"This whole tone has changed between the last very recent years under this administration I think," he said. 

Perkins hit on a handful of other conservative talking points, including arguing that the Holocaust would not have happened if Germany had been under the same gun laws we have in the United States, speaking out against the "extreme progressivity" of the U.S. tax system, and criticizing President Lyndon Johnson for the failed "war on poverty" and "the destruction" of families in America. 

Perkins also complained about child labor laws and the minimum wage, arguing those would have prevented him from getting the paperboy job he enjoyed as a child.