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View Diary: Surprise! CBO report shows 50% of government tax expenditures go to top 20% of earners (50 comments)

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  •  The term "expenditure" is a technical term. (0+ / 0-)

    "Expenditures" are not monies paid out.  Rather, they are a number of exclusions, deductions, preferential rates,and credits in the federal tax system that cause revenues to be much lower than they would be otherwise for any given structure of tax rates.

    It's not surprising that the people who pay the most taxes derive the most benefit from them, given what the CBO reports says about them:

    Some of those provisions—in both the individual and corporate income tax systems—are termed “tax expenditures” because they resemble federal spending by providing financial assistance to specific activities, entities, or groups of people. Tax expenditures, like traditional forms of federal spending, contribute to the federal budget deficit; influence how people work,save, and invest; and affect the distribution of income.

    Those expenditures are grouped into four categories:

    Exclusions from taxable income—

    - Employer-sponsored health insurance,

    - Net pension contributions and earnings,

    - Capital gains on assets transferred at death, and

    - A portion of Social Security and RailroadRetirement benefits;

    Itemized deductions—

    - Certain taxes paid to state and local governments,

    - Mortgage interest payments, and

    - Charitable contributions;

    Preferential tax rates on capital gains and dividendsand
    tax credits—

    - The earned income tax credit, and

    - The child tax credit.

    The patellar reflex is a deep tendon reflex which allows one to keep one's balance with little effort or conscious thought.

    by SpamNunn on Thu May 30, 2013 at 01:08:40 PM PDT

    •  but that's the point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, nominalize

      I'm not sure that you're arguing.

      A solid portion of US fiscal policy is designed around giving tax breaks. (About half of Obama's stimulus was tax breaks.) Fiscal policy designed around tax breaks benefits the rich disproportionally.

      If instead US fiscal policy was designed around expenditures, the policy would be more equitable. (And probably more effective.)

      For example, in health care, a big expense is the insurance tax credit, which benefits the rich disproportionally for no good reason. If we spent the exact same amount, but split the spending per-capita, the spending would be more equitable, and probably more effective. (There's no reason to believe there's an added value in spending more gov't money on rich people's health care.)

      •  In France, for instance, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, Cassandra77

        nearly everyone has "allocations" of some sort, because the government does that to incentivize certain behaviors, instead of giving tax breaks.  Here, we give tax breaks for child care.  In France, you get a monthly check.  (Also, a lot of child care is part of the school system so it's already free.)

        And so forth.  

        Whether that's the model we want or not, I just provide information.  

        That said, in economic terms, a $1000 tax cut that your neighbor doesn't get is the same as a $1000 government check that your neighbor doesn't get. The only difference is in our perception (and self-esteem).

        Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

        by nominalize on Thu May 30, 2013 at 05:44:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Congress is in the habit of doling out benefits (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil

      And punishments for the purpose of one thing only -- enhancing their tenure in office. Since bribes are illegal and immoral, they've developed this marvelous strategy of not collecting taxes from whichever segment of the electorate is likely to return them to office. It's the "unjust steward" strategy, elucidated in the biblical parable by that name. The brilliance of this strategy lies in the fact that a steward has been hired to do just that -- supervise expenditures and revenues. If his judgement/decisions are bad and favor his master's debtors, rather than his master, the master has only one recourse, firing, doing what you've been hired to do, but doing it badly is not a crime, even if the doing is designed to garner a personal advantage somewhere down the line (the revolving door).
      That the agent will prove incompetent is one of the pitfalls of agency. On the other hand, since each person's time is limited, having agents is more beneficial than trying to do everything oneself.
      The founders structured the Constitution to have agency review every two years. If we don't review and don't remove, whose fault is that?

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Thu May 30, 2013 at 02:47:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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