I like bank robberies. Years ago I watched a real live bank robbery in Winnipeg. After throwing acid at the teller, the thief escaped with two moneybags. As he lunged toward his getaway car he lost one bag on the sidewalk. Five minutes later a bank employee retrieved it.
Now, don't get me wrong. Robbing banks is not on my agenda, and I've never been threatened with jail-time like Joseph Howe (who in 1835 was charged with “seditious libel” for exposing government theft and corruption but was acquitted by a jury). But bank robberies can teach us economic lessons.
One critical lesson is that theft is bad business, even when practiced by government. Often we don't recognize it because theft is legitimized by using fuzzy words like “transfer” or “equalization” or “harmonization.” But over 165 years ago, Frederic Bastiat, the French economist and statesman, correctly identified taxation as “legal plunder”. So not much has changed.
Today, it is quite popular for you to get back some of this legal plunder. You can do it through what is called a “tax credit.” If you “owe” taxes you can reduce your tax bite by a very small amount.
Now, my question is: Why is getting back a measly few dollars of your hard-earned income via a “tax credit” thought of as a government subsidy by some people?
For example, Dan Leger, writing in The Chronicle Herald (Feb. 1, 2016) doesn't like tax credits. They're subsidies, he says, and takes aim at AIMS, suggesting it shouldn’t accept donations from subsidized companies. (I'm not defending subsidies to companies; anyone with a possum-size brain recognizes real subsidies to major corporations.) More surprising, award-winning journalist, Stephen Kimber, writing in MetroNews (Jan. 3, 2016) implies we're not spending enough of taxpayers money.
Finding ways to reduce legal plunder is everyone's duty. Retrieving a small portion of your stolen income by way of a “tax credit” is not a subsidy but a small way to reduce government's legal plunder.