In an interesting post today David Brooks wrote this:
“You might say that a tax break isn’t the same as a spending program. You would be wrong. David Bradford, a Princeton economist, has the best illustration of how the system works. Suppose the Pentagon wanted to buy a new fighter plane. But instead of writing a $10 billion check to the manufacturer, the government just issued a $10 billion ‘weapons supply tax credit.’ The plane would still get made. The company would get its money through the tax credit. And politicians would get to brag that they had cut taxes and reduced the size of government!”
He then goes on to rail against tax credits, not quite recognizing the major intellectual breakthrough he has made.