Thursday, January 28, 2010

$50 for Your Favorite Candidate?

Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman and Congressman David Wu (D-Oregon) penned an intriguing commentary for Wednesday's Wall Street Journal titled "How to Counter Corporate Speech."

Pull quote: "Every American should get a $50 tax credit to donate to a candidate."

Some graphs:

The Supreme Court's decision last week in Citizens United v. FEC fundamentally changed the nature of political campaigns. In a 5-4 ruling, the court held that corporations have a constitutional right to spend millions of dollars in independent campaigns that attack or support particular candidates.

Critics of the decision worry, with good reason, that corporate interests might now exhibit outsize influence on campaigns.

We need to embrace a market solution to this problem. The answer to the disproportionate influence of big money is to give ordinary citizens the financial capacity to compete effectively in the political marketplace.

The place to begin is with a tax cut. Each American should get a refundable federal tax credit of $50 that they can use to make contributions to federal candidates during presidential years, and a suitably smaller sum during off-year federal elections.

Each American should be allowed to claim a $50 refundable tax credit when filing an income tax return. Oregon and other states already do this. It's time to bring this plan to the rest of the nation.

Modern technology provides opportunities for enhanced convenience and access. Donations to campaigns could be made electronically, with the money automatically refunded to each citizen's credit card or bank account. Call these electronic transfers "democracy dollars."

About 120 million Americans went to the polls in 2008. If each citizen also had a chance to contribute democracy dollars, their donations would overwhelm the sums that corporations are likely to spend under the recent Supreme Court decision.

I'd say it's an idea worth a try.

1 comment:

Bernie said...

Do you think that people will ever be able too compete with the huge corporate companies, unfortunately I don't but I absolutely think this idea is worth a try....nothing will change if the people don't change it, we all must try something....:-) Hugs