Question Washington

June 26, 2011

Rep James Clyburn – (D) South Carolina on ABC this week

Filed under: Congress — questiondc @ 2:19 pm

Aside from the obvious slant that emanates from Christian Amanpour, cleverly disguised as “news”, the guests are truly entertaining if not comical.  Today as I listened to Rep. Jim Clyburn, I was shocked at the approach advocated to address the looming debt crisis.  According to Rep. Clyburn there does not need to be a tax increase but tax loopholes need closing and the subsidies to oil companies and on ethanol fuels need to end.  Rep. Clyburn clearly stated that closing these loopholes would not increase anyone’s taxes and that the only way to increase someone’s taxes is to raise the tax rate.  Seriously?  This is what he believes to be true?   How does Rep Clyburn define subsidies?  Let’s clear a few things up.

First, what is a loophole?  According to Webster, a loophole is a means of avoiding an obligation.  Given this definition would presuppose that the current tax code contains gaps that allow taxpayers to avoid paying taxes.  This would be an incorrect assertion since Rep Clyburn is actually referring to the legally codified tax deductions and exemptions that allow taxpayers, in this instance the oil companies, to deduct certain expenditures or investments against revenues or income.  Loophole closure versus removal of deductions is simply spin to foment anger toward corporate entities that are operating within the law.  This spin is nothing more than bias presented through parsing of words to infer wrongdoing. To put it another way, Rep Clyburn is being duplicitous in order to further an agenda of raising taxes.  Wait, according to Rep Clyburn the only way to raise taxes is to increase the tax rate.  Either Rep Clyburn is being intellectually dishonest or he lacks understanding of basic math.  What constitutes a tax increase?  Certainly, an increase in the tax rate would result in increased taxes but a decrease in deductions or exemptions has the same effect.  The most rudimentary explanation is the more income subject to taxation, the higher the tax rate. 

Next, let’s look at what a subsidy consists of.  The definition is “a grant of money, as from a government to a private enterprise.”  Rep Clyburn was correct in saying that Ethanol fuel manufacturing has received subsidies, or direct payments of taxpayer dollars for research and development.  Then truthfulness takes a detour.  To make a claim that Oil companies are receiving subsidies is patently false and misleading.  Tax deductions or exemptions defined as a subsidy can be, per Rep Clyburn’s definition, extrapolated to say that the Government subsidizes every child claimed as a dependent.  While there is widespread agreement that ethanol subsidies do need to end, let’s at least be honest about what constitutes a subsidy and stop with the spin.  The attempt to pit people against each other is not what is best for this country or the people you represent.  The next time you elected leaders contemplate why there seems to be so much cynicism among the people, try looking at the deception you are constantly spewing and you might answer your own question.

I’m just sayin’

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