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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Do As We Say On Taxes, Not As We Do?

Corporate favoritism is rife in the U.S. tax code and the media industry is far from immune to taking full benefit whenever possible of Washington politicians' bottomless hunger for handing out favors. But to judge by its editorial page over the years you might not expect The New York Times to be such a media organization.

You would be wrong.

Captain's Quarters has the Times' hypocrisy on this issue nailed. Click on the headline above this posting to get the full flavor. Here's a sample:

"That's the problem with newspapers and businessmen in general who rail against tax cuts and investment protections in the tax code. Most of them operate or contribute to corporations that exploit these legal structures without hesitation -- as they should, if legal -- to benefit themselves and their shareholders. And yet they castigate others who do so, accusing them of threatening our "civic culture" and other hyperbolic rants about the evils of corporations. It's hypocrisy at its most base and ludicrous level."

FULL DISCLOSURE: Tapscott's Copy Desk also enjoys the benefit of a federal tax favor, consisting of a deduction for mortgage interest on a (believe me, very) modest house near Sykesville in still-semi-rural Carroll County, Maryland. Unlike The New York Times, however, I have long advocated a flat tax that includes no deductions for anybody for anything - "Here's how much I made last year and here's my check for 10 percent, Mr. Caesar. Now leave me alone."

BTW, for those of you who know your American history, it's that Carroll County. The loveliest of Maryland counties deserves a small footnote in the narrative of the Cold War because it was on a farm there that Whitaker Chambers hid his "Pumpkin Papers," the most damning evidence of the treason of Alger Hiss.