Wednesday, November 09, 2011

More Welfare for Millionaires

The Denver Post has had an excellent series on tax breaks for corporations.  These breaks were supposed to encourage businesses to move into poor areas called enterprise zones, but eventually enterprise zones covered most of the state and just constituted another tax break for almost any corporation doing business in Colorado, in some cases giving tax breaks to corporations that eliminated jobs, rather than creating them.

This is also an example of the "beggar thy neighbor" policies pursued by many government jurisdictions, from nations to cities.  One of the big Republican arguments for lower business taxes is that other nations have lower taxes; if we don't match their low rates, all companies will leave the US, they say.  Within the US, companies move to the states with the lowest business taxes.  Most big companies incorporate in Delaware because it has the most lenient laws governing corporations.  In the Denver area, the Aurora suburb is bidding to take the annual stock show away from Denver proper by offering all kinds of tax advantages to it and the Gaylord hotel chain which would build a new hotel near the stock show grounds. 

All of this takes money away from basic activities that governments perform, from defense to education to building and maintaining roads.  Colorado just voted down a small increase in taxes for education, but it has millions to subsidize big corporations in "enterprise zones," or to get the stock show to move ten miles out of town. 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Rich Doctors Are America's Problem

This op-ed by David Brooks says that the largest proportion of the richest 1% of Americans are doctors.  He says 16% of the wealthiest are doctors, compared with 8% being lawyers, for example.  That's why health care costs are going through the roof, why Medicare is out of control, etc. 

He doesn't break down the doctors' incomes, but it's pretty well known that the richest doctors are the specialists, the heart guys, the bone guys, etc.  Many of them getting rich on Medicare because old people have heart attacks, broken hips, etc.  The general practitioners, who keep people healthy, rather than repairing them after they are sick, don't make nearly as much. 

It's a system where the rewards are misallocated, and that threatens to destroy the whole American economy.