“A Better Hope for Campaign Finance Reform”

Ed McCaffery has posted this draft on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

There is too much money in American politics, and too much of it comes from too few citizens. Mega-donors like Sheldon Adelson or Tom Steyer make $100 million political expenditures every election cycle. Attempts to limit such large political contributions have failed at every level: judicially, legislatively, and administratively. Much of the academic literature has joined the real world’s sense of despair. This Article takes a new tack. By changing our tax system from an income to a consistent progressive spending tax, the true cost of political expenditures by mega-donors could increase tenfold. By using a strategy of taxing that has been applied to such “bads” as alcohol and cigarettes for centuries, and by identifying high-end spending or consumption in general as such a social “bad,” this Article offers hope for solving what seems to be a hopeless problem.

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