Both Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Elizabeth Warren have plans to curb the influence of lobbyists on politics and government, but each has a different approach. Warren proposed this week to enact a lobbyist tax of as much as 75 percent, which prompted Yang to reveal his feelings on the plan and suggest his own approach, Fox News reports.
According to Yang, who is also critical of a wealth tax, a lobbyist tax will “do next to nothing” but “just make lobbying slightly more expensive.” He claims that with the exponential return lobbyists receive for the money they invest, it’s difficult for a tax to be effective unless it is much more extreme than just 75 percent. It would need to be greater than 100,000 percent, Yang says.
Yang suggests that the alternatives are either prohibiting lobbyists entirely or his proposal: flooding the system with “people-powered money” and creating a channel between legislators and the public.
“The citizens of this country need to become our most powerful lobbyists. Voting is not enough to hold legislators to task because of incumbency and the two-party duopoly — the voice of the people is now drowned out by corporate money and interests. That is what we must reverse.”
The 44-year-old entrepreneur proposes term limits to detach legislators from corporate interests. He claims that most legislators currently spend their time trying to stay in power and believes term limits would relieve this pressure and make them more inclined to vote on behalf of their constituents.
Yang also highlighted his Democracy Dollars bill, which would give every American voter $100 per year to put toward campaigns and candidates. He says this is a “much more effective” mechanism for overcoming the influence of corporate lobbyists compared to a mild tax.
“Imagine running for office when every American has $100 Democracy Dollars to give to their favorite candidate,” Yang’s policy page reads. “Just 10,000 supporters could mean $1 million for your campaign.”
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) October 3, 2019
When Yang presented his idea for Democracy Dollars at the last debate, it received ridicule from many on social media. In response, Cenk Uygur, the host and creator of The Young Turks, blasted critics on Twitter as “idiots in establishment” that support corruption in politics. He added that he believes the proposal is one of the best of the 2020 election cycle and provides a path for average Americans to compete with the big-money donors that influence elections.
Yang is currently sixth place in the polls with 3.5 percent polling support. He will appear in the October debate and needs to hit 3 percent in one more DNC-approved poll to take the November debate stage.