Tax Cut Bill Contains $55 Billion in Industry Subsidies and Giveaways

The Washington Post’s Dan Eggen has a story today about the $858 billion tax-cut compromise hashed out between President Obama and his Republican colleagues last week. It’s wending its way through Congress right now.

Eggen reports that buried inside the legislation is more than $55 billion worth of “giveaways and tax reductions from some of Washington’s most influential industry groups.”

NASCAR gets some. Caribbean rum distillers get a piece. Hollywood producers get some help too.

Passing these tax cuts and subsidies in Congress is often simply a continuation of existing policy, however, it’s within the purview of Congress to stop funding all of them.

For instance, according to Eggen, since 2006 the corn ethanol industry has received $21 billion from taxpayers. It’s money to encourage creating ethanol from corn. The industry claims that they need the money because they can’t compete in the marketplace without government tax credits. Opponents say it’s a waste of money.

“This tax credit is really just lining people’s pockets,” Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense vice president told Eggen, “We’re not getting any kind of bang for our buck.”

The problem with corn ethanol is that it’s not clearly a win-win situation when you’re trading food (corn) for energy (ethanol). The tax incentive might be better spent on a different renewable energy source, such as algae.

Read Eggen’s story on Washington Post to see if you’re on the list to get some tax credits or subsidies from the federal government.

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