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Hollywood Tax Credits, Rum Subsidies, Indian Coal and Scooters: The Senate Fiscal Cliff Bill’s 4 Worst Ripoffs

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On January 1, 2013 @ 8:20 pm In The Point | 16 Comments


While the American people are being hit with new ObamaCare taxes, and the ObamaDeficit is climbing through the roof and will pass 20 trillion dollars before long, there’s always plenty of sweetheart deals and pork to be found.

1. Hollywood.

Celebrities flocked to Obama and the industry poured millions into his campaign. Payday comes in the form of an extension of the Special Expensing Rules which allow Hollywood productions to deduct 15 to 20 million dollars [2].  That’s pretty generous considering that companies that manufacture medical devices are being hit with a tax. But who really needs pacemakers anyway when you’ve got Hollywood?

For all the lefty mockery about “wealth creators”, there are some wealth creators that are close to the Democratic Party’s rotten black heart. The same ones who do tedious ads calling on the Democrats to outlaw guns, plastic bags and civil rights. Celebrities.

Glenn Reynolds has argued that instead of cutting taxes on Hollywood, Washington should be raising taxes, [3] and not just by legalizing and taxing cocaine.

The first such proposal would be to restore the 20% excise tax on motion picture theater gross revenues that existed between the end of World War II and its repeal in the mid-1950s…  The movie excise tax was imposed in response to the high deficits after World War Two. Deficits are high again, and there’s already historical precedent.

But instead of raising taxes on Hollywood, the Senate fiscal cliff extends the deductions.


2. Puerto Rican Rum

When rum from anywhere but Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands arrives in the United States, the excise taxes go to Uncle Sam, but 98 percent of the excise taxes [4] for rum from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands go right back to those territories, which reinvest the money in rum production.

The United States is using rum excise taxes to subsidize rum production in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which is not only a WTO violation, it’s half a billion dollars in tax revenues being thrown out the window so that more rum can be made, so that more rum can be taxed, etc…

Maybe there’s an argument for giving up 500 million dollars for rum distillers, but when we’re taxing companies that produce lifesaving technologies, then maybe we should be taxing the rum too?

Oh and it’s wasted money too.

Estimates suggest that, in some cases, the value of the operating subsidies alone exceeds the actual production cost per litre of rum.


3. Scooters

Sec 403. Extension of credit for 2- or 3-wheeled plug-in electric vehicles

There shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this chapter for the taxable year an amount equal to the sum of the applicable amount with respect to each such qualified 2- or 3-wheeled plug-in electric vehicle placed in service by the taxpayer during the taxable year

Thanks goodness all those poor people in Hollywood who own three Segways will be able to get a tax credit while wobbling around the sidewalk drunk on Puerto Rican rum


4. Tax credits for Indian Coal

Back in 2008, Obama vowed to destroy the coal industry. Thus far he has been doing an excellent job of shutting down coal plants [5]and putting coal miners out of work with over 17,000 jobs lost [6].

But there’s coal, which is dirty, filthy and polluting, and there’s Indian coal which is the heart and soul of an ancient people and is in a special category as indigenous coal [7].

(9) Indian coal
(A) In general
The term “Indian coal” means coal which is produced from coal reserves which, on June 14, 2005—
(i) were owned by an Indian tribe, or
(ii) were held in trust by the United States for the benefit of an Indian tribe or its members.

Anyway the gloriously indigenous [8] Indian coal tax credit has been extended for another year. Because that Italian guy who played an Indian standing by a highway doesn’t cry when the coal is held in trust by the United States government. Let the sound of 17,000 unemployed coal miners who don’t happen to be Indians be heard throughout the land.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/hollywood-tax-credits-rum-subsidies-indian-coal-and-scooters-the-4-worst-ripoffs-in-the-senate-fiscal-cliff-bill/pickpocket12112006/

[2] to deduct 15 to 20 million dollars: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2013/01/01/hollywood-loophole-fiscal-cliff

[3] Washington should be raising taxes,: http://washingtonexaminer.com/sunday-reflection-repeal-the-hollywood-tax-cuts/article/2503964#.UHBA1a7CaSo

[4] 98 percent of the excise taxes: http://www.caribjournal.com/2012/11/14/op-ed-rum-subsidies-in-puerto-rico-and-the-us-virgin-islands/

[5] shutting down coal plants : http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/28/obamas-abandoned-power-plants/

[6] over 17,000 jobs lost: http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/04/report-up-to-17000-jobs-lost-from-coal-plant-shutdowns/

[7] as indigenous coal: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/45

[8] the gloriously indigenous: http://www.businessinsider.com/breaking-full-text-of-the-157-page-bill-to-avert-the-fiscal-cliff-2013-1

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