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Blog Posted in avatar   sumdume's Blog

Radical idea — Bust the deficit and reduce corporate influence in elections

By sumdume
Posted Jan 5, 2013 in Politics
While nursing my morning coffee and watching the talking heads argue over pay increases for Congress an Idea occurred to me. Please understand that I have not thought about it long. Therefore, I am sure there are details I have not considered. So feel free to chime in with your ideas’
During the 2012 election cycle billions of dollars flowed through the coffers of thousands of campaign office and Political Action Committees. These donations shaped the message the voters received. These donations also created or supported jobs form many individuals associated with developing and disseminating political information.
Some have decried the influence of corporate donations to campaigns. This is especially true following the recent Supreme Court decision that allowed unlimited donations by corporations. Those who oppose corporate donations have a point. The massive donations by corporations reduce the opportunity for the concerns of “normal” citizens. Opponents maintain that corporate donations are a very real threat to the Nation and citizens.
The Federal budget deficit is another very real threat. The out of control spending has resulted deficits since the beginning of the G.W. Bush administration. Bush signed legislation that allowed deficits to rise to astronomical heights. Democrats, Including Barack Obama claimed the deficits were out of control and unpatriotic. When it was his turn to sign on the dotted line, Barack Obama made Bush look like a tight fisted miser. Under the Obama administration deficits have risen to levels that would call for impeachment of a Republican President. Apparently, it is no longer unpatriotic to have large deficits. Well….it is either that or the fact that President Obama is unpatriotic.
I digress; let us get back to the radical idea. I propose the donations to political campaigns and PACs be taxed like ordinary income. The income generated can be used to pay down the deficit or fund Social Security during periods when there was not budget deficit.
Please note, I do not propose taxing the donor. What I propose is that we tax the organization receiving the money and spending it on ANY political activity. This would include a candidate’s political committee, a Super PAC or a labor union. Any money, goods or services received would be considered ordinary income. A political activity would be any activity that promotes a candidate or political issue. Goods and services would include donations of air time by media networks. An example would be an appearance on television programs such as Letterman, the View or Fox and Friends. It would also include exclusive interviews such as the ABC News exclusive at the White House. Press appearances open to all media networks that allowed the press to ask questions would not be considered a donation.
We can even use the flawed “progressive” tax code. My thought is that is it is good enough for the people it is good enough for the politicians. Under this scenario, individuals who receive very little income from donors would not pay any taxes. Consequently, individuals who receive millions would be taxed heavily. The one change from the “progressive” tax code would be the TOTAL BAN on deductions or tax credits.
Look at the revenue that could be generated. If we assume President Obama and Mitt Romney spent one billion dollars each the tax would raise $800,000,000. If we assume another billion dollars was donated to all other campaigns the tax would amount to $1,200,000,000. That would be roughly equal to 10% of the 2011 budget deficit. Or it could be used to raise Social Security benefits $1,000 for 1.2 million individuals. Some reports indicated that more than 8 billion dollars would be spent during the 2012 election cycle. Just think of the benefits that could come from this tax.
A Death Tax could be implemented on the values of a campaign after the election was over. This would include all remaining funds and the value of any property owned by the campaign. The tax rate could be 50%. Again, the revenue gained could be used for deficit reduction or Social Security.
Perhaps the best thing about this radical idea is the knowledge that the politician will be bent over the barrel and raped like the taxpayers they are campaigning to represent.

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