Tax the political circus

Doug Link is an El Dorado Hills resident who doesn’t plan to run for office ever again

Several years ago, when I ran for Folsom City Council, I quickly learned that having a lot of money in your campaign war chest does not ensure victory, but it definitely helps. With our current economic situation in California, perhaps we can use the memory of last fall’s recall election, with its ridiculous number of candidates, as an example of a way to gather some good from the political circus.

The entire U.S. system of campaigning for office—on any level, from school board to president—is in desperate need of an overhaul. Too much money is being directed toward candidates by special interests, and campaign reform and contribution limits are always hot topics. The candidates who typically spend the most money and win their elections are in charge of the financial stability of our schools, cities, counties, state and nation. If we cannot come to an equitable resolution on how much money a contributor or politician can give or receive, why don’t we start profiting from the excessiveness?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if 50 cents of every dollar raised for any candidate or proposal on the ballot went straight to the state’s general fund or to a fund designated by the people that would benefit from these dollars?

The election playing field would remain level, as every candidate or ballot initiative gave up half. A candidate raising an obnoxious sum of money would be projected in a positive light because he or she was able to contribute X amount of dollars to help our current financial situation instead of being ridiculed for simply raising too much money.

The only people to whom I’ve mentioned this idea who do not care for it are—you guessed it—the politicians and their pundits. Their response is typically: “Politicians will just have to work harder to raise more money and be even more indebted to their contributors.” My response is: Fine. That’s more money that goes to help our situation. It’s all good!

Now we just need to get a politician to grab hold of this idea, write a bill, submit it to committee, send it to the Legislature and vote on it. Well, I think it is a good thought, and all good laws start as good thoughts.