The Corner

Re: Means, Not Aims

So Nick, if eliminating a tax credit without corresponding tax reductions elsewhere in the tax code is a tax hike and, hence, an increase in the size of government, then I gather that eliminating the blender’s tax credit that applies to ethanol production is likewise an expansion of government? Moreover, increasing the size of that credit — what we once might, back in the day, have called an ethanol subsidy — is reducing the size of government, correct? And using the tax code to reward some behavior relative to other behavior — like, say, buying a house rather than renting the same, or investing in renewable energy rather than, say, in non-renewable energy – is conservative, limited-government policy as long as the rewards are in the form of a tax credit, correct?

Like Daniel Shaviro, I dissent. If I understand you correctly, Nick, then you and I have very different definitions about how one measures the size of government. See Shaviro for my definitions. 


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