❄ Democracy Vouchers

  ❄ Democracy Vouchers   


Lawrence Lessig proposes [Note 1] addressing the problem of money in US politics by instituting ‘democracy vouchers. Here’s how they would work:

… we could adopt a system of small-dollar public funding for Congress.

Here’s just one way: almost every voter pays at least $50 in some form of federal taxes. So imagine a system that gave a rebate of that first $50 in the form of a ‘democracy voucher.’ That voucher could then be given to any candidate for Congress who agreed to one simple condition: the only money that candidate would accept to finance his or her campaign would be either ‘democracy vouchers’ or contributions from citizens capped at $100. …

The Question

Lessig’s option addresses the supply question. [Candidates declining the terms for ‘democracy vouchers’ risk being penalized at the polls.] But it doesn’t deal with the demand problem. Candidates would still need money—and loophole-exploiting ‘friends’ or ‘issue-focused’ fronts—to compete. So: good as far as it goes. The next question. How could we, following Lessig’s spirit, wholly suppress big money?


NOTES

[Note 1]: Lawrence Lessig, “More Money Can Beat Big Money,” The New York Times, 17 November 2011.

[Political Design 2011.11.20. Post A34. Short Link p=5. http://design.learnworld.com For archive through April 2010 go to http://www.learnworld.com/blog/design.html]


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