To the Editor,
More money was donated and spent during the last election campaign than any election in history! I think it’s probably safe to say that all of these contributions were made because the donors felt the candidate or issue they supported would do more for them. Many, if not most, of these donations were not tax deductible. The funds which were donated to the candidate or issue which lost were probably an exercise in futility. It occurred to me, “What if all these funds, which were freely given, were donated to the government to solve some of the problems the government is expected to solve?”
During the Oregon Budget Crisis of 2002 the possibility of allowing those who thought the schools should have more money donate money to the government was proposed. The prevalent philosophy of the taxpayer is “Don’t pay any more than you have to!” That’s why such a proposal seemed ludicrous. However, there is no law which prevents the taxpayer from paying more than they have to! What if all these people who wanted more from government and/or their candidates donated their money to a government fund which would guarantee the government would have more funding to do more for them, without regard for the success of the candidate or issue campaign? And what if these donations to State government were a deductible item on their Federal returns, or the Federal donations were deductible on their State returns?
As a matter of fact, if my memory serves me correctly, the money I pay in State taxes is deductible on my Federal returns and the money I pay in Federal taxes is deductible on my State returns! What if dedicated persons who wanted to serve God and their fellow men in government didn’t have to be subjected to a profound need to raise campaign funds and make dubious and/or ambiguous commitments in order to do so?
I have never spoken to an elected person who didn’t feel somewhat degraded by political fund-raising. Wouldn’t it be nice if a candidate could be a candidate based on their beliefs and desire to benefit mankind…instead of who was the best fundraiser? Perhaps I’m a hopeless idealist who has asked for legislation to allow those who want more from government to be allowed to pay more. Perhaps I’m naive to believe that if those who spend millions of dollars to avoid paying taxes could donate those funds to the government and perhaps not be required to pay as much taxes. Perhaps our government prefers compulsory funding rather than voluntary…or both. Perhaps it’s a good idea and Oregon could demonstrate to the nation that we can solve our education and social problems as well as our budget issues by simply giving permission to those who want more to pay more!