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At Last, A Little Bipartisan Deficit Reduction

June 17th, 2011 . by economistmom

The Senate voted to repeal the ethanol tax credit on Thursday.  The significance of this wasn’t in the size of this particular tax expenditure (about $1 billion/year in forgone excise tax receipts, according to footnote 4 in this JCT publication), but in the fact that the proposal to end the credit and actually raise revenue from it actually received bipartisan support.

Here is the roll call vote.  The yeas and nays are nearly perfectly evenly divided among Ds and Rs, with the nays easily explained by geography (corn-producing states).  Some of those who voted no, like Senate Budget Committee chair Kent Conrad (one of the Democratic members of the Gang of Six-now-Five), no doubt would have favored a more sweeping reduction of tax expenditures–but would argue (I’m pretty sure) that picking on the ethanol tax subsidy alone and thus their particular (agricultural) part of the country is unfair.

I think this is a really good sign.  (And I have more good news to share in my very next post…)

4 Responses to “At Last, A Little Bipartisan Deficit Reduction”

  1. comment number 1 by: Steve Thompson

    Why do none of our “leaders” mention the issue of underfunded Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs is dealt with before it is too late for those of us that live on Main Street. As shown in this article, over $100 trillion in funding will be necessary over the coming decades to maintain these programs that most Americans rely on as they reach retirement and the future of all three is uncertain at best:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2011/04/hidden-american-100-trillion-debt.html

    The massive underfunding makes the $14.4 trillion debt look rather tiny by comparison.

  2. comment number 2 by: Vivian Darkbloom

    You didn’t link to the roll call vote—the link provided is to the JCT Report from December 10 ,2010 on the estimated amount of tax expenditures. Nevertheless, I can vouch for the description of the actual vote. And, I hope we don’t have to wait much longer for the more good news. There has not been enough of that lately.

  3. comment number 3 by: economistmom

    Vivian: thanks — I made the correction!

  4. comment number 4 by: Knox Marlow

    I also hit this topic on Friday. It’s nice to see the bipartisan cooperation on a fiscal issue.

    http://taxdidactic.blogspot.com/2011/06/encouraging-vote-to-kill-ethanol_17.html

    Also, great article today in Tax Notes! I added your blog to my blogroll. I’m just getting my blog started.