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Tax Political Contributions


This morning I heard something on the news about raising the federal debt ceiling. Not being well-versed in political matters, I’m guessing that means our federal government has raised its credit limit so it can borrow more money. I’ve done this on my own credit card when I’ve needed to make a purchase with my card, so I don’t see any great problem, provided the federal government can pay its bills.

A better solution to raising credit limits is to pay down the principal, thus making more credit available. This I have not heard anything about recently. I’ve had an idea rolling around in my head for quite some time, and I’m sure others have had the same idea. So if you are politically-minded, please feel free to use this idea. I would love to see it become a reality, but I have no idea of where to begin, so I’m starting here, on my humble blog that is ordinarily more concerned with spiritual matters. (Our political system can have an effect on our spiritual life, so it all fits.)

I propose a tax on all political campaign contributions collected. My first thought is to make it 10%, but 5% is probably more reasonable. However, even a 1% tax could make a huge difference. This tax would then be used for paying down the principal of the debt in the city, county, state, or nation in which the race is held. So, if it’s a local race, then the local area would benefit; if it’s a national race, then the federal debt principal would be paid.

For example, San Diego recently elected a new mayor. A political ad that ran on television stated one candidate had received over 5 million dollars from just one group. If we take 1% of 5 million, we could pay down $50,000 of the principal on the debt the city of San Diego holds. I don’t know exactly how much debt San Diego is in, but I do know from paying off my own debts that every little bit towards principal helps. Perhaps someone out there can do the research and provide examples of how long it would take to pay off city, county, state, and federal debt with this new tax. Even if it’s decades, that is decades sooner than the current pace.

This tax would be paid directly by the people collecting political campaign contributions. They are already required to keep records of the money they receive, so this should not be a burden. It also has the added bonus of contributors knowing that even if their candidate does not win, they have still provided a public service by making a donation.

Of course, we would need to ensure the money is put only towards the principal of the debt, and not used as a replacement for payments already in place. Once the debt is completely paid off, then the money could be directed towards improving schools and access to education at all levels. This provides a reward system for cities, counties, and states that pay off their debt. At the federal level, it could mean better student loan and grant programs, making life-long learning more accessible.

I don’t have statics to back me up, but I’m sure if we were to compare the amount of money spent on political campaigns to the amount invested in schools, we would gag in horror. I do believe we need political campaigns so every politician can get his or her message out. However this small tax would do a great public service by investing in our future.

So, anyone have an idea of how to get lawmakers pass a law that essentially taxes themselves?

If you do, please grab this idea and run with it!

Published inSoapbox

One Comment

  1. Brian Brian

    Maybe we could write a petition to the White House. With enough signatures the white house would be obliged to respond. You have a great idea there Jenna!

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