Why don’t we allow 16 year olds to vote? We allow them to work and pay taxes, so why don’t they get a say in their representation? Why can’t they cast a vote against a politician who is spending their money yet not working in their interests? Are we so naive as to think the parents/guardians of a 16 is working in his best political interests? Why should we expect a 45 year old parent to cast a vote related to, say, social security spending which is in the 60 year interest of the program as opposed to the 30-40 year interest of the program that is relevant to the parent?
It seems utterly clear to me that if we’re going to allow 16 year olds the right to work – that is, unlike with people 15 years and younger, a 16 year old needs not his school’s or parent’s legal permission to get a job – then we must either refuse to tax them or we must allow them the right to vote. The latter option, though, would only work if we were consistent in it: since 16 year olds are unrepresented in the government and given the right to work, we must exclude them from all forms of taxation, including income taxes, excise taxes, inheritance taxes, every day taxes on purchased items, and any other tax one might imagine. This is hardly workable. Thus, we’re left with only a few solutions: 1) raise the age of legal employment to 18, 2) make employment under 18 contingent upon a parent’s approval, or 3) allow 16 year olds to vote. The third option seems to be the best to me.