Remember when “loopholes” were bad? Oh, don’t strain yourself too much. It was just three weeks ago, in the State of the Union address, that Barack Obama blamed “loopholes” for America’s deficit problem:
When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more, and that means making choices. Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
In the fact sheet for the 2011 SOTU, the White House blames “loopholes” three times:
President Obama is calling to reform our corporate tax system, eliminating loopholes and lowering the corporate rate without adding to the deficit. … Over decades, the corporate tax code has been filled by deductions and loopholes that benefit narrow interests and erode our tax base and requires us to have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. … That is why the President is calling for a fundamental reform of the corporate tax system to close loopholes and use the savings to pass the first reduction in the corporate tax rate in 25 years, without adding a dime to the deficit.
That was then, but this is now, reports Veronique de Rugy at The Corner:
Remember in the president’s State of the Union address how the line “no more bailouts, no more cop outs” was followed by proposals to do more bailouts? Well, President Obama continues this practice. His budget message derides “special-interest loopholes,” but then proceeds to provide more special-interest loopholes.
For instance, in addition to the tax credits that already exist in the budget, the president proposes 7 tax credits or cuts for families and individuals (such as an exclusion for student-loan forgiveness after 25 years of income-based or income-contingent repayment), 5 protectionist tax incentives (for expanding manufacturing and insourcing jobs, such as a new “manufacturing communities” tax credit), and 6 tax-relief provisions or investments to create jobs and jump-start growth (including 3 new ones, such as a 10 percent tax credit for new jobs and wages, and a tax credit for energy-efficient commercial buildings).
And then there are the tax credits for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles that use alternative fuels, the energy incentives, the new-market tax credit, the designated growth zones, the tax-exempt bonds for Indian tribal governments, and much more.
Silly Veronique. Obviously, some loopholes are more equal than others.
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