Promoted - Ryan Ellis is the Director of Policy at Americans for Tax Reform.
Rich Lowry and others are calling tax cuts in the Senate bailout package "earmarks" today.
Calling tax cuts "earmarks" is very unhelpful and completely wrong from a fiscal conservative perspective. There is no such thing as a “tax earmark.” Earmarks are spending. There are appropriations earmarks. There are authorization earmarks. There are no “tax earmarks.” To claim that there are puts tax deductions and credits (which is what we’re talking about here) on the same par as bridges to nowhere. Was the creation of HSAs a “tax earmark?” How about the home mortgage interest deduction? One might call for lowering the rates and broadening the base, but we should not fall into the trap of equating tax cuts and spending increases. That’s how some Senate Republicans got in such massive trouble over health care last year and energy this year vis-à-vis taxes.
A tax cut is not the same thing as a spending increase.
Here’s a thought experiment for the dubious: suppose we eliminated the mortgage interest deduction and had HUD give every homeowner a $10,000 subsidy to pay his mortgage. It’s all good, right? Heck, we’re just replacing a “tax earmark” with a “spending earmark.” Except that this “swap” would increase taxes and increase spending by hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
EARMARKS = SPENDING