If we can’t eliminate money in politics, TAX IT INSTEAD!!
Tax revenue could be distributed proportionally to states for election-related expenditures.
~ States could develop a system of public financing for elections.
~ Others could implement ranked choice voting, make voter registration easier or more
secure, and/or update voting equipment.
~ Expand training and pay for poll workers? Great!
The chart below demonstrates how a progressive tax on campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures would work:
They would also be progressive, so a wealthier citizen who donates $10,000 a year wouldn't pay 10% on that total amount, just the portion between $5,001 and $10,000. His/her actual interest rate would end up being 6.25% (or $625), which is roughly equivalent to the sales tax in many states.
By contrast, the 98.2% of American adults who donate less than $200 in an election cycle would be completely unaffected.
The following chart shows the progressive nature of the tax, and makes clear it is the political donor class and deep-pocketed special interests who are primarily affected…as they should be.
However, the vast majority of the nearly $3.5 billion spent annually on lobbying is being spent by wealthy special interests, so a progressive tax mostly affects this tiny, but very influential, group.
Another way to help smaller factions would be to allow each state to issue up to twenty $50,000 waivers each year, lowering the amount subject to the lobbying tax by the same. States could hand these out as they see fit – ideally to groups advancing issues important to that state – providing voters another metric by which to judge their state leadership.
As the chart below demonstrates, any group spending less than $50,000 annually on lobbying would pay no tax, and one spending $200,000 would pay a tax of 7.5% – again, fairly close to the sales tax many Americans already pay. Higher rates would only affect those spending upwards of that.
Closing the ‘primary purpose’ loophole.
Non-profits must be required to separate their core purpose/mission from all electioneering – basically any political activity beyond strict (i.e. no promoting a candidate or issue) voter registration or get-out-the-vote efforts.
The portion of the non-profit dealing with electioneering would be split off into a completely autonomous entity, losing its social welfare designation. At that point, anyone donating to this new entity would lose the disclosure shield they currently enjoy (and often abuse).
This would likely face a court challenge, but government has the right to define what is and is not a non-profit, and much of the abuse today stems from their failure to do so. At worst, we could end up moving the threshold for primary purpose of the non-profit closer to 90% than the current 51%.
On January 7th, the day after Congress certifies our next president, a detailed plan to Occupy the Path of Corruption will be unveiled.
This direct-action strategy will issue three demands, of which a tax on campaign contributions and lobbying is a major part. All three will zero in on the pressure-points most likely to achieve positive, substantive results quickly and pull this country out of its current death spiral.
Until then, you can help by making people aware of this new approach for tackling the scourge of special interest money in politics. Please share this article on social media and/or discuss the idea with friends & family.