Monday, July 12, 2010

Spreading the Wealth Around

Ross Douthat takes aim at a different kind of welfare, corporate welfare:

This policy is typical of the way the federal government does business. 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. 

I agree completely. (I mentioned much of this in this post.) Unfortunately, few people in Washington think this way. Instead of taking aim at this sort of wasteful spending, our politicians would rather cut spending on the poor and middle class than close the loopholes that cost the government billions every year and benefit only the very well-off.

I think you have to be delusional to not attribute a lot of this to the pernicious effect of wealthy interest groups. I'm sure Citizens United will help ameliorate this.

EDIT TO ADD: Douthat follows up with a very interesting blog post on the tension between the conservative desires for small government and to support the rich.Worth reading.

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