Lawrence Lessig’s idea for leveling the political playing field

November 18, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

Here’s an idea I hadn’t heard before, presented by Citizens re:public:

Lessig proposes a system that reduces your taxes by up to $50 if you spend as much on a political donation. You could give it to any candidate you like, so long as they promise to only accept funds from the public, not corporations. $50 per American would be $6 billion dollars combating the distorting system we have in place:

Less than 1 percent of Americans give more than $200 in a political campaign. No more than .05 percent give the maximum in any Congressional campaign. A career focused on the 1 percent — or, worse, the .05 percent — will never earn them the confidence of the 99 percent.

By replacing the financial clout of the top tier of donors with public money, their influence disappears. Suddenly, politicians would have a pretty compelling reason to start listening to the rest of their constituents.


Category: Campaign Finance Reform

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Karl says:

    Promises mean nothing in the political landscape.

    Only the harsh realities of having someone else, (a.k.a. the IRS) in charge of both elected and appointed governmental officials sources of funding will bring an end to this debacle that we used to call a representative democracy. Now all that gets represented are the greed and avarice of those with the money seeking to pay off those with the ability to sway public expenditures.

    The people know that they can put a check upon “pay to play” and other direct bribery payoffs to governmental leaders, but they must just be too comfortable when it works for them, but unfortunately upset when it works for others that they don’t agree with.

  2. Karl says:

    Here’s one example that “promises” mean nothing.

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