22 Sep '11, 7pm

Tax expenditures: a boring thing you should be outraged about, by @drgrist

Tax expenditures: a boring thing you should be outraged about, by @drgrist

Resist the urge to sleep through this one -- tax expenditures are a big deal. Compare the following two simplified scenarios. A. An oil company pays $1 million a year in taxes. Congress gives it a yearly cash grant of $200,000 to explore for new wells. B. An oil company pays $1 million a year in taxes. Congress gives it a yearly tax break of $200,000 for exploration expenses. As you can see, A and B are equivalent. In both cases, the federal government was going to get $1 million a year, but instead will get $800,000. In both cases, the federal government is foregoing $200,000 in revenue in order to favor a particular business or industry. The first is a simple case of government spending. The second is what's called a "tax expenditure," i.e., government spending that takes place through the tax code. And while they are obviously equivalent in budget terms, the political d...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/politics/2011-09-22-tax-expenditures...

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