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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Cliff notes

Business leaders and their Republican friends tell us middle class taxpayers will need to give up some of our tax breaks and entitlements to prevent the nation from going over the fiscal cliff.

Somehow they never mention the massive amount of "incentives" they receive from local, state and the federal government -- often for promises they fail to keep.

There have always been easy targets of "corporate welfare"-- subsidies for big agriculture, the oil and gas industry and of course the preferential tax treatment of Wall Street profits.

The New York Times takes a much deeper dive into corporate feeding at the public trough and finds governments at all levels are turning over  at least $80 billion annually to subsidize manufacturers, oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.

And here's the scariest part:
The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.
Remember this when House Speaker John Boehner or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declare President Obama and Democrats are not being reasonable by insisting on higher taxes for the top 2 percent or no major cuts in entitlements as part of negotiations to avoid plunging over the artificial cliff created by massive GOP tax cuts and credit card spending on multiple wars.

And Democrats, emboldened by the reelection of Barack Obama and increasing their seats in the Senate, should stick to those guns while also insisting that the corporate welfare "entitlements" that have been ignored in this debate be put on the table as well. It appears there is enough fat there to cure most of our ills.

A fair-minded person can see some value in restricting mortgage interest deductions on multimillion dollar McMansions. Perhaps there are cogent arguments to be made for restricting the deductibility of employer-paid health benefits  or even for limiting the deduction for charitable contributions.

But only after our overstuffed corporations are put on a diet.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Dems are just as bad giving out money to Solyndra and Evergreen. Or is it OK to push something as long as it's green? Barack has been counting the green jobs created, one catagory has been the inclusion of antique dealers because they are recyclers.

December 03, 2012 5:06 AM  

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