NY Times: The Real Spending Problem
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
Saint Paul, MN
#1 Mar 18, 2013
"The Real Spending Problem" by THE EDITORIAL BOARD at the NY Times
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD at the NY Times
Each year, the government doles out tax breaks worth $1.1 trillion. That is more than the cost of Medicare and Medicaid combined. It is more than Social Security. It tops the defense budget, and it tops the budget for nondefense discretionary programs, which include most everything else.
Tax breaks work like spending. Giving a deduction for certain activities, like homeownership or retirement savings, is the same as writing a government check to subsidize those activities. Functionally, they mimic entitlements. Like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, they are available, year in and year out, in full, to all who qualify. Yet in budget talks, Republicans ignore tax entitlements, which flow mostly to high-income taxpayers, while pushing to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
President Obama and Congressional Democrats have rightly asserted that tax breaks are ripe for cuts that could raise revenue without hurting most taxpayers. One method, as presented in the Senate Democratic plan, is to convert tax deductions, which increase in value as income rises, to tax credits, which would provide benefits more broadly and evenly among low-, middle- and high-income households.
Tax deductions, however, are only one kind of tax break. Many others take the form of arrangements that allow wealthy taxpayers to either escape tax entirely on specific transactions or to defer it indefinitely.
Saint Paul, MN
#2 Mar 18, 2013
Spending has only increased under Republican presidents in the last 50 years. Obama inherited Bush's mess which the Republicans refuse to help resolve.
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