Monday, August 3, 2015

Some tax breaks should die in deficit fix

Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney should make it clearer that he’s not talking about corporations, traditionally a GOP constituency, when he accuses President Obama of worsening the recession.

Some tax breaks should die in deficit fix

0 comments

Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney should make it clearer that he’s not talking about corporations, traditionally a GOP constituency, when he accuses President Obama of worsening the recession.

The recession, of course, officially ended two years ago. But the former Massachusetts governor, speaking Tuesday in New Hampshire, repeated a charge he has made before. Perhaps Romney was trying to say the recession not only hasn’t ended but has gotten worse for many Americans. But he should add that that’s not the situation for many businesses.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal predicted Tuesday that U.S. firms will report strong earnings for the second quarter, with the combined earnings of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rising nearly 14 percent from a year ago.

Keep in mind that a number of companies doing well now cut costs by shedding employees, which has kept unemployment high nationally and continued the recession within many homes. Many firms will never go back to more costly employment levels.

That context should carry more weight as Washington debates what to include in the deficit-reduction package that Congress is trying to craft in connection with raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

Enough firms have recovered from the recession to consider Obama’s proposals to end costly corporate tax breaks, including an accounting maneuver that lets companies claim higher costs than they actually paid for goods. Listing the higher expenses on their returns reduces their taxable income.

With the recession still a reality for so many families, shouldn’t corporations and individuals who have weathered the storm dig deeper to ensure the viability of the entire nation?

In that context, doesn’t it make sense, for example, to cap the value of itemized deductions for the highest earners?

There are other proposals that should not be dismissed out of hand as merely tax hikes. Likewise, more spending cuts must be considered in any realistic deficit-reduction plan. The administration has agreed that the largest entitlements — Medicare and Medicaid — cannot be exempt. Defense spending, too, must take a big bite.

There’s simply too much common ground for a deficit-reduction agreement to be so elusive. That it is suggests that too many politicians are calculating what their position will mean to their political careers rather than what it will mean to the country’s future.

0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

The Inquirer Editorial Board's Say What? opinion blog showcases the work of the editors and writers who produce the newspaper's daily and Sunday opinion pages.

Find out more about The Inquirer's Editorial Board here.

The Inquirer Editorial Board
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter