Ad tax insanity

By From page A4 | January 29, 2014

Democrats never saw a tax they didn’t like. To translate that from the double negative, Democrats love to tax us.

In 1969 there were 155 high-income taxpayers who found enough deductions to not pay any income tax. So Congress enacted a millionaire’s tax called the Alternative Minimum Tax. Since then it managed to suck in a lot of middle class taxpayers, while Congress raised it several times in the 1990s from 21 percent to 24 percent and then to 26 percent and finally to 28 percent. Thanks a lot, Congress.

Then in 2012 Congress exempted married couples filing jointly who made $78,750 or less and single filers who made $50,600 or less. Those figures are now automatically indexed for inflation. A couple who make $40,000 each for a total of $80,000 are going to be facing the AMT.

What is little known is that the AMT also applies to corporations. And now Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a member of the Subcommittee on Taxation, wants to tax advertising.

The Montana Democrat must have had a brain freeze visiting his home state during the winter.

This is absolutely guaranteed to carve the beating heart out of community newspapers. It will kill off struggling Yahoo and wipe out billions of dollars of value from Google and Facebook, to name some obvious advertising-dependent businesses.

But, wait. It gets worse. The ad tax proposal would require all advertisers to wait up to five years before they can fully deduct the cost of half of their advertising as a business expense.

As noted in a letter submitted by the Newspaper Association of America, 46 press associations plus the California Newspaper Publishers Association, “The U. S. tax code permits a business to deduct the cost of advertising in the year it is purchased just as it permits the deduction of other ordinary business costs such as salaries, office rent, utilities and similar expenses. The advertising deduction proposal would be the most sweeping change to the tax treatment of advertising costs in the 100-year history of the tax code.”
“The proposed tax would have an immediate and devastating impact on newspapers and other media, where advertisers underwrite much of the cost of bringing news, information and entertainment to all Americans,” the groups write. Oh, just think about the gazillions our wonderful government would reap by taxing Super Bowl advertising. The result would be fewer ads and dumber ads. It could become so dispiriting that there wouldn’t be a reason for most of the country to watch the Super Bowl anymore. Here are some astounding figures from NNA:”Advertising currently accounts for $5.8 trillion of the $33.8 trillion in U.S. economic output and supports 21.1 million of the 136.2 million U.S. jobs, according to estimates by economic consulting firm IHS Global Insight provided by the Newspaper Association of America.”

Advertising is what makes the economy work. It is an absolutely essential way for companies to communicate with the public, to tell us about new products.

Don’t mess with 17 percent of the American economy. Congress already screwed up that much with Obamacare. Don’t go for 34 percent with the Democratic congressional wrecking ball, even if you throw in Miley Cyrus.

Be satisfied with your 35 percent corporate tax rate — tied with France for the fourth highest in the world. Be happy with your confiscatory personal income taxes and Alternative Minimum Tax. Don’t tax advertising. Sen. Baucus, take your appointment as ambassador to China and get out of Washington, D.C., before you ruin the whole country with your crazy tax-and-spend schemes. We’ll feel safer once you are in Communist China. You’ll feel more at home there.

Mountain Democrat

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