Closeup Of US Currency, TFP File Photo

In Paying For Biden’s Massive $3.5T Spending Spree, Democrats Seek To Prop Up Some Allies – Journalists

Americans are long accustomed to politicians at all levels rewarding their friends.

But the Democrats’ new tax bill, authored to generate financial support for President Joe Biden’s massive $3.5 trillion expansion of the welfare state, contains a new wrinkle on that old practice.

And this issue seems so important to them that Democrats are willing to take an action they rarely pursue: cutting taxes.

The tax bill, according to The Washington Times, contains a provision that would give local newspapers a tax break for each journalist they employ.

The tax break would be in the form of a tax credit equal to up to half of a journalist’s salary for the first year, and 30 percent each subsequent year.

The credit would be capped at $12,500 a quarter – or $50,000 a year. And it

The term “local” has a lot of wiggle room in it as well.

According to the bill, a local newspaper is defined as a newspaper or website whose primary content features “original content derived from primary sources” that “primarily serves the needs of a regional or local community,” and which employs “at least one local news journalist who resides in such regional or local community.”

Additionally, in order to qualify, the publisher cannot employ more than 750 employees – which would include all but the nation’s largest newspapers.

The  budget watchdog group Americans for Tax Reform labeled the proposal one of its “ 10 ‘woke’ items in Democrats’ $3.5 trillion blowout.” ATR estimated the tax break would cost the government $1.3 billion.

The idea does not sit well with conservatives and free-market types – and for good reason.

For one thing, as ATR pointed out, newsrooms are havens for “ a largely left-of-center group of workers.” A few years ago, a survey found that only 7 percent of journalists admit to being Republicans.

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, told the Times, “Not only is this proposal a grotesque waste of taxpayer money, it would be a dangerous precedent of government collusion with the media. Biden’s collusion with the press has already caused enough damage to freedom of speech and freedom of the press,”

“Freedom of the press does not contemplate government funding of it,” Johnson added.

Meanwhile  the libertarian Reason magazine noted that the bill would force taxpayers “to pay for local journalism they wouldn’t otherwise choose to support.”

“Giving struggling outlets government checks only weakens their need to reach readers, or to convince donors of their value,” Reason argued.

Another problem with the plan, Reason said, is that it would put the federal government “in charge of deciding what counts as a legitimate newspaper and who counts as a legitimate journalist under the tax code. … Imagine IRS agents poring over a newspaper (or Substack) to see if it qualifies for special tax treatment. Not exactly an image consistent with the First Amendment.”

“Journalism obviously plays an important civic function,” Reason noted. “But sustaining it over the long run requires convincing citizens that it provides value worth paying for — not making it dependent on federal benefactors.”

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