Friday, April 11, 2014

Budget solution: Place a sales tax on members of Congress

Rep. Paul Ryan has a new budget outline, which the House has approved, despite no hope that the Senate will even consider it. This semblance of progress on balancing the federal budget gave me an idea:

Let's place a sales tax on members of Congress. Disabuse yourself of the notion that our representatives are not really beholden to the people who give them thousands or millions of dollars every day. Congress is for sale, and members are not even coy about it. The selling has become brazen. Despite what the Constitution might imply, Congress' real job is not to pass legislation, it is to raise money for the next election. And most members do it very well.

My proposal would force the nation to recognize the reality of the Citizens United and other Supreme Court decisions that make the selling of Congress the nation's most productive business. Instead of fighting this tidal wave, let's tax it.

Every dollar given to a member of Congress or candidate for Congress, his/her election campaign treasury, or any "third party" organization, including political parties, political action committees, so-called "voter education" groups or any other entity seeking to influence a congressional election shall be taxed at the rate of, let's say, 10%. This taxation would go into the U.S. treasury and would be counted as revenues in the federal budget. Once this influx of money balances the budget and pays off the federal debt, the taxation rate can be adjusted downward. We don't want to be greedy about this.

The advantages go far beyond the balancing of the budget. This tax would make nominally honest men and women of members of Congress. We had known all along they were for sale to the highest bidder; now they will have to admit it. Their admission of this fact would bolster federal revenues. It would also make moot the differences between personal income, campaign income and special-interest groups' income. All of them would be taxed equally because they are equivalently responsible for the selling of Congress. So what if the Supreme Court says corporations can poor millions of dollars into buying congressmen? At least we'll get tax revenue out of the transaction.

No doubt, soon after passage of the sales tax on Congress, members will be bragging about how much revenue their campaigns have contributed to the treasury.

1 comment:

Debra said...

Good idea Hal. No, great idea!