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View Diary: I am Tired of the Taxpayers Paying For Food For Rich People (229 comments)

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  •  This is a mistake many progressives make. (8+ / 0-)

    Here's the bottom line.  Tax policy affects business behavior.  There's no question.  Absolutely it does.  It's SUPPOSED to.  After all, why do you think we gave people tax breaks, for example, for buying hybrid cars?  To get them to change behavior and buy hybrid cars.

    Here's an even more basic example.  You know what does the most to cut down on smoking? Not education.  Not doctors harping.  No what does it is increasing taxes on cigarettes, because when something starts costing more, even individuals change behavior in reaction.  Certainly, businesses, which are accutely aware of increases in expenses (and taxes are an expense) are going to change behavior when the cost of something goes up.   If you give business a financial incentive to do something, that increases the likelihood that they will do it.  If you give business a financial DISINCENTIVE to do something, that means they do it less.

    It's just silly, and shows a complete lack of understanding of how business operates, to say, "It doesn't matter if we tax it a lot more, they'll do it anyway."  No one who has ever run a business would say anything like that.

    No, if you ELIMINATE the deductibility of business meals, that does not mean that people will stop doing that entirely.  It certainly DOES mean, however, that people will do it a lot less, and find other ways (more tax friendly ways) to generate business.  And depending on the restaurant, that definitely can affect business.  I'm in New Orleans, and even though there are SOME restaurants that depend mainly on tourists, any restaurant that operates primarily to serve locals depends heavily on those who go there for business meals.  There aren't enough birthdays and anniversaries to sustain those restaurants.  If you significantly change business  behavior through tax policy, those restaurants lose business.  

    I have no problem with discussing tax policy, or how much and how we should tax business.  What I think is dishonest is for people to enter that discussion with the clearly mistaken notion that tax policy does not affect business behavior, and that businesses are going to continue to act in a certain way even if we dramatically increase the tax consequences for doing that.  That's just delusional.  Any discussion of a significant change in tax policy MUST also consider how that change in tax policy is going to affect behavior, because it inevitably does.  You may well decide that it is worth the change in behavior to make the change.  But you can't pretend the change in behavior won't happen.

    •  Sorry that something (7+ / 0-)

      might upset your gravy train.

      As if business people would just quit going out for lunch/dinner but for the tax deduction.  Give me  a break.  

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 10:24:24 AM PDT

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    •  Yes (10+ / 0-)

      losing the deduction may make businesses have less dinners and lunches...but it will never be zero nor even close to zero.

      I am in a position where I actually participate in such junkets, and the only thing that would change is that the perks would be reserved for only the biggest big wigs - board members, VP's, VIP guests and the sort - instead of the current practice of anyone senior management thinks they may want to be nice to.  I'm thinking in my particular company say a decrease of maybe 5 to 10 less free meals per year.

      The tradition is too entrenched and the big wigs feel too entitled for it to be significantly affected.

    •  what business do these deductions generate? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The influence of a deductible business meal on business is negligible.  I've put the corporate card down on a lot of these meals.  Many times, there's no link to any transaction at all--we're just going out for dinner and drinks because the company says we can expense it and we can expense it because it's subsidized.  I've blown months of SNAP payments on a single meal.  Think about that.

      Think also about this--if the tax subsidized dinner does influence a business decision, is it not a bribe and therefore illegal?  Isn't it curious that I can't accept a gift from a business partner if the value of that gift is over $25, but we can go out to dinner and have the chef's tasting menu with the accompanying flight of wines for $250 a head?

      It's simply a perk of being close to the 1%.  Methinks this is all about aligning the interests of the next 3% more with the 1% than with the 99%.  "It would be a shame if something bad should happen and you were at an intersection with a cardboard sign rather than having the tasting menu"

      The impact to business done by eliminating this deduction would be minuscule.  The impact of transferring the funds spent on this deduction to people who need a meal would be massive.

      We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

      by Mosquito Pilot on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 07:26:51 AM PDT

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    •  Why are restaurants special? (0+ / 0-)

      Why should the government subsidize expensive restaurants?  Should the subsidize yachts and private jets too  (they probably do.  ugh.)  I am sick of using the tax code to provide special deals to some people.  If you want to entertain someone because it is a good business investment, then do it because it's a good investment, not because you can write it off.  

      I have been to meals where we ordered $500 bottlea of booze and had food fights with lobster tails.  It's sickening.

      I'm still mad about Nixon.

      by J Orygun on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 09:58:30 PM PDT

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