The Blurry Tax Credit–Subsidy Line

by Robert VerBruggen

In the context of the debate over whether school vouchers funded with “donations” (that are fully reimbursed by the government via tax credits) constitute government spending, I once asked what would happen when liberals caught on to the scam — and started funding other programs with tax credits.

This abortion-clinic funding isn’t government spending — it’s just a donation from a rich liberal that we offset by giving him a break on his taxes, which are his money anyway! These massive subsidies? They actually just let green corporations and people with college loans keep more of their own money instead of surrendering it as taxes.

Well, they’re catching on.

UPDATE: From Brad Plumer, at Ezra Klein’s blog: “How to Persuade Conservatives to Love Spending.”

Hey, if many conservatives are happy to see “targeted tax breaks” as not really spending, and liberals are happy to declare their spending goals accomplished when they’re funded with tax credits, maybe we have the making of a great compromise.

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