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Rep. John Sarbanes argues that a small-donor fundraising system can compete with big money politics ("Restoring people's faith in government," April 16).

The system would consist of public matching funds whose source and amount are yet to be determined. But what else could they be other than public tax dollars?

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In that case, the public will be encouraged to both donate their own small-dollar contributions to "honest" candidates, then watch their tax dollars further diverted to candidates who won't stand a chance against the big donors. Brilliant.

How about cutting to the root of the problem, which is money from people who have it versus the majority of people who don't, and who can't compete effectively without it.

That's why there should be a provision for taxing all campaign, lobbying and PAC contributions. The proceeds could support qualified lower-income candidates, or at a minimum support public programs, civil liberties, consumer protections and other social issues that are not otherwise adequately represented when big business runs the show.

Forget tapping funds from the 99 percent. Take the money from those who can buy a voice to represent their interests and use it to ensure their opposite numbers are equally represented.

Just put a 100 percent tax on all campaign and lobbying money. Who knows, donors might actually give more knowing that some good will be accomplished with their money other than yielding cheesy yard signs and grainy commercials.

Harrison Jackson, Baltimore

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