Donald Marron on Tax Expenditures

Donald Marron, director of the Tax Policy Center, has a good piece over at the Christian Science Monitor on how tax expenditures should be part of any deficit reduction plan and subject to the same scrutiny that direct spending is.

As Marron says:

The ethanol subsidy thus looks like a tax cut, but it's really government spending in disguise. The Department of Energy could accomplish the same thing by sending out subsidy checks. The same is true for dozens of other tax provisions, such as the business credit for research and development and personal tax breaks for mortgage interest, health insurance, and charitable giving.

As a way to find a middle ground, cutting tax expenditures are a great way to raise revenue without necessarily having to raise marginal tax rates -- as long as everyone recognizes that they are simply spending by another name.

Click here to read Marron's full piece, and here for CRFB's ideas on reducing tax expenditures.