GOP Senator Calls for End to “Subsidies” for Millionaires

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) will not be running for the US Senate when his term expires. He will keep his election promise to limit his service in the Senate to two terms. That self-imposed term limit allows Sen. Coburn the luxury of doing the job for which he was elected and reelected (overwhelmingly, I might add) instead of having to spend a large part of those working hours kissing babies, attending chicken dinners and begging for reelection money. How lucky Oklahoma and the country are to have a full-time senator and a budget hawk like Tom Coburn in office.

Senator Coburn doesn’t pander to partisan politics when it comes to fiscal conservatism. He is not afraid to anger his fellow Republicans by proposing ideas that may not be popular with some of the party hierarchy. Chances are, financial proposals are bound to tick some Democrats off, as well. Sen. Coburn doesn’t care; he has nothing to lose, politically. A case in point is Sen. Coburn’s latest call to close income tax loopholes by ending virtually all what he labels as subsidies–including Social Security payments and unemployment benefits–to millionaires.

From the Tulsa World:

Coburn releases report on subsidies to wealthy

by: SEAN MURPHY Associated Press
Monday, November 14, 2011
11/14/2011 2:02:02 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY — Millionaires in the United States receive about $30 billion annually in government subsidies, tax breaks and through federal grant programs, according to a report released Monday by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.

The 37-page report, dubbed “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous,” details government payments provided to individuals with annual gross incomes of at least $1 million, through unemployment checks, Social Security payments, farm subsidies and numerous tax credits. The report notes that in tax year 2009, nearly 1,500 millionaires paid no federal income tax.

“From tax write-offs for gambling losses, vacation homes, and luxury yachts to subsidies for their ranches and estates, the government is subsidizing the lifestyles of the rich and famous,” Coburn wrote in the report. “This welfare for the well-off — costing billions of dollars a year — is being paid for with the taxes of the less fortunate, many who are working two jobs just to make ends meet, and IOUs to be paid off by future generations.”

The report, which compiled government data mostly over the last five years, showed payments to millionaires for programs like Social Security, unemployment and farm subsidies totaled about $1.6 billion annually. Tax credits for deductions like mortgage interest, rental expenses, canceled debt and business entertainment expenses totaled $28.5 billion annually, according to the report.

For the rest of the article:

What do you think? Is the label some have given Sen. Coburn–a “Senate Occupier”–a putdown or a compliment? Is he being fair to the millionaires whose “subsidies” he is targeting? For that matter, will those in Congress who have not set term limits for themselves have the fortitude to halt or at least, cut back on what Sen. Coburn suggests are unfair and unwarranted subsidies to millionaires?

One Comment

  1. The problem isn’t that the wealthy get, and take, various tax deductions, but that those tax deductions exist for anybody. Our government, thinking that it can accomplish something good by nudging people into economic behavior that the government likes, creates tax incentives. And over the decades, our tax code has become laden with thousands and thousands of different tax exemptions and credits and different rates, all to encourage certain, sometimes conflicting, behavior.

    And it’s hardly only the wealthy who benefit. My family pays less in taxes than another couple making the same income if they happen to be renting a house rather than buying one; why is that fair?

    We ought to tax all income the same, regardless of source, and we ought to get out of the business of government trying to either encourage or discourage particular behavior. No matter how good or noble the government’s intentions happen to be, these things always get abused by someone.

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