The venture capitalist offered the unorthodox proposal when asked to name one idea that would "change the world" at a speaking engagement in San Francisco moderated by Fortune's Adam Lashinsky.He's the Gallagher of rich people, that one.
"The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes," Perkins said.
"But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How's that?"
The audience at the Commonwealth Club reacted with laughter. But Perkins offered no immediate indication that he was joking. Asked offstage if the proposal was serious, Perkins said: "I intended to be outrageous, and it was."
To be clear, Perkins was of course joking. Everybody knows that that is largely how the system currently works. If you don't pay much in taxes, you probably also have more trouble getting to the polls, and if you pay millions of dollars in taxes you get to buy your own government. Current stakeholders wouldn't like Perkins' proposed new system very much at all, because all the companies that do not currently spend vast sums of money on their own lobbyists and electoral plans would suddenly have, in aggregate, votes on par with the Koch/Pope/Adelson efforts, and that is not how the system is meant to work. The top tenth of a percent is supposed to have absolute authority in these things; you can't have the merely wealthy gumming up the hopes and goals of the super rich.
Silly Mr. Perkins. Such a card, that fellow.