tax expenditures

Post image for Cutting “Subsidies” to Big Oil Is Political Sleight of Hand

Between the time this is written and the time you read it, gas prices will have undoubtedly risen again.  They have been on an upward spiral for months and not likely to drop long term without some bold, decisive action as was taken on July 14, 2008. Instead of encouraging the development of our own natural resources, politicians of both parties  are once again betting that we will not notice if they play the antibusiness card—but 2011 is not a year for politics as usual and the rules have changed. This is no longer a back-room game. It is the poker channel. People are watching.

With their cards close to the vest, Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are bluffing. They want America’s citizens to believe their hand is filled with spending cuts—cut subsidies from big oil companies. Somehow we are supposed to think this will lower gas prices?

Part of their bluff is to use the term “subsidy”—which in the house-of-cards economy/debt crisis they’ve built translates to spending. Concerned Americans do not want more spending, they want cuts. We’ve anted up all we can. Politicians are betting we’ll fall for the deception.

[click to continue…]

Post image for A Response to Conservative Defenders of Tax Credits

In response to my criticism of conservative Members of Congress for supporting H. R. 1380, which I have nicknamed the T. Boone Pickens Earmark Bill, some conservatives (in which broad category I include libertarians and advocates of free markets) have defended tax credits, even those that benefit only narrow interests.  They do, after all, reduce some people’s taxes, and reducing taxes is a good thing.  Some even go further and define ending tax credits as raising taxes.  Some anti-tax groups thus demand that elimination of any tax credits be matched with tax cuts somewhere else.

The conservatives who make these arguments do so because they have unknowingly accepted the world view of the left.  They have forgotten that the Constitution was designed to maintain a nation of citizens rather than to create a government with subjects.  They ignore the essential role that the equal protection of the laws fulfils in maintaining the rights of citizens against the encroachments of government.

Tax credits (also known as “tax expenditures”) for buying or producing certain goods and services rather than other goods and services are a species of wealth re-distribution.  Tax credits are a particularly obnoxious type of wealth re-distribution because the re-distribution generally flows from the politically less powerful to the politically more powerful.

[click to continue…]