Posted by | July 12, 2010 12:33 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Ross Douthat of the New York Times, unlike many conservative columnists, honestly engages and gives credit to those he disagrees with.  Today he proposes some tax/budget policies that liberals will find agreeable.

In case after case, Washington’s web of subsidies and tax breaks effectively takes money from the middle class and hands it out to speculators and have-mores. We subsidize drug companies, oil companies, agribusinesses disguised as “family farms” and “clean energy” firms that aren’t energy-efficient at all. We give tax breaks to immensely profitable corporations that don’t need the money and boondoggles that wouldn’t exist without government favoritism.

Right on!  This should be something that deficit hawks and government spending supporters can support.

Unfortunately, he also has to slam progressive taxation:

The left-wing instinct, when faced with high-rolling irresponsibility, is usually to call for tax increases on the rich. But the problem, here and elsewhere, isn’t exactly that we tax high rollers’ incomes too lightly.

Progressive taxation is an important part of a fairer society.  It also isn’t mutually exclusive with the reforms Douthat is proposing.  Our tax code should be more progressive but also the government should not dole out welfare to corporations and the wealthy.  Let these beneficiaries of the free market sink or swim in the market’s waters.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.