Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tax Loopholes

Tax loopholes are measures enacted by Congress to achieve some policy goal, like encouraging oil production or getting people to move back to central urban areas from the suburbs.

Tax loopholes are evil economic manipulation, I think.

But closing a loophole doesn't help the economy, generally. All it does is remove the incentive it was put in place to provide, so discouraging the activity it was designed to foster. Generally there isn't a lot of money for the government to gain.

Another effect of closing tax loopholes is to raise the general level of economic uncertainty. What is a good business activity? Companies and individuals don't know what the rules are if they keep changing.

Similarly, the more loopholes that are created and subsequently removed, the less effective tax policy will be.

But I guess in the end, any business which bases its activity on the presence of a tax loophole for it deserves what they get when the loophole goes away.

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