Google+ Followers

Monday, January 7, 2013

Special interests?

On the front page of today's New York Times, an article on 1031, "like-kind," exchanges says that the tax break is used by "everyone [emphasis mine[ from commercial real estate developers and art collectors to major corporations. It provides subsidies for rental truck fleets and investment property, vacation homes, oil wells and thoroughbred racehorses...."

Then the reporter writes: "The expansion of the tax break once intended to help farmers illustrates the challenges ahead and how special interests have learned to use the tax code to maximum effect."  Does he mean that farmers are not "special interests"? A bill written "to help farmers" is a classic special interest bill.  And the "expansion" of farmers' tax benefits to "everyone" may be a good or bad policy, but it's not a story about "special interests", it's the opposite.

Brad DeLong has a good phrase for this kind of thoughtlessness in journalism: why, oh why, can't we have a better press corps?