Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Tax Plan To Kill K Street

Yes I stole the title from George Will. Unlike will, I don't think we can kill K street by 'simply' changing our fundamental tax structure. Whether we tax based on income or sales or assets, K street will do just fine. But there is a much simpler change we could make to the tax code that would go a long way towards reducing its power. Those little boxes on the tax forms that ask if you want $3 to go to the presidential campaigns... change them so that they ask which campaign, party or political action committee you want your $3 dollars to go to. The top ten or so could be listed right on the form, and there could be a space for a write-in.
Under the present system, most people do not check the box. Famously, George Bush did not, even though he accepted the money. But if he knew that the whole $3 would go to Republicans, instead of being split with the Democrats, he certainly would have--and he would have made an effort to encourage every Republican to do likewise. The same goes for the Democrats. That would effectively raise the Federal election fund from about $100 million every four years to about $600 million a year--enough to seriously weaken the power of the lobbyists. They could be weakened even further if people let their favorite party or politician know that the more they get from K street, the less they'll get from the people.
Here's how I think it would play out. I'm not about to vote for Nader just because Kerry has taken too much from United Special Interests Of America, but I might send my $3 elsewhere. If enough people do that, then Kerry (or Joe politician) might realize that K street's money just isn't worth the trouble.


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