When candidates discuss income inequality, ask them to support this amendment.


It addresses its most destructive effect - one of the few the Constitution already expects us to prevent.



Income Inequality


Does the Constitution promise income equality? 


No. As situations rather than characteristics of a person neither wealth nor income falls under Amendment XIV, Section 1, the Equal Protection clause (or under the clauses in Article IV's Sections 1 and 2 that it restores). The Constitution does not guarantee financial equality, a vast and complex concept outside the scope of this amendment. 


However, some things affected by economic level do require equal protection. Law must carefully define and check these protections but may not ignore them.


The Preamble:

"We the People of the United States,

in Order to [...] promote the general welfare [...]

do ordain and establish this Constitution [...]"


The Preamble states that one reason we are ordaining and establishing this government is to promote the general welfare. One of the main reasons people vote is economic self-interest. 

Most of all, the Constitution requires that each vote have equal weight and each citizen equal access to government, regardless of income or wealth. Self-governance is impossible without these. The Guarantee clause requires the United States to guarantee every state a republican form of government. In a republic every vote must count equally. 


Article IV, Section 4:

"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union

a Republican Form of Government,"

Amendment XXIV:

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote […]

shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state

by reason of failure to pay a poll tax or other tax.” 



The Poll Tax provision requires us to prevent income inequality from affecting self-governance conduct. Access to the ballot, the public's main form of self-governance, can't be affected by whether a voter can pay a poll tax or any other tax. This doesn’t mean everyone's income or net worth must be equal or anything like it. It does mean we have to prevent their affecting our self-governance.


Section 3's Economic Representation clause is the only clause in this amendment

that didn’t arise from measures already tried or in the public debate.


But by protecting votingagainst economic inequality, Amendment XXIV anticipates one day protecting representation, the inalienable right that the right to vote builds on, 

against economic inequality. It was the most we could agree on in 1964.


We’ve since had time to achieve greater consensus. This amendment completes what XXIV began.  

Why seat the protection in this process?

Assigning power over economic fairness to any branch or level of government would grossly distort the balance of powers and give government too much power over the people. A defined process is the safest place for it. Apportionment by census depends on one thing only: the percentage of Americans at each economic level. It’s fair by definition. It also fits in with all related clauses without disturbance.


Article IV, Section 4:

"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union

      a Republican Form of Government, [...]"


Conforming district maps to the country’s general economic proportions consists with the Constitution and details both Amendment XXIV and the Guarantee clause. 

If a candidate wants to reduce income inequality ask them to support this amendment, which addresses its most destructive effect - one of the few the Constitution requires us to prevent.