Tax Rates and Tax Credits

One illustration of the value of the relationship between the two is provided in Laura Kusisto’s piece, Tax Overhaul Threatens Affordable-Housing Deals, in a piece in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.

The possibility of a tax-code overhaul is casting a shadow over the $10 billion affordable-housing industry, which receives tax credits so valuable they often determine whether or not projects get off the ground.

Members of Congress and President Donald Trump have proposed reducing the corporate tax rate to 15% to 20% from the current 35%, dimming the allure of a credit investors such as big banks and insurance companies receive to offset income taxes.

Well, of course it would.  With low taxes, there’s little value to tax credits or deductions.  There’s no mystery here.

Of course, there’s much wailing, teeth-gnashing, and bodice ripping that subsidies for builders are losing value.  The horror.

On the other hand, the availability of truly affordable housing would seem to be at risk, at least superficially.

On the third hand, though, it remains a truism that our Federal tax code has no business being used for government-directed (or any other -directed) social engineering.  These projects will work because they’re economically viable; otherwise they shouldn’t be tried at the rates they are.

In a low tax régime, too, there will be more money in the private economy, more employed labor, and commensurately less need for “affordable housing.”  And housing generally will be lower-cost, reducing the number of folks truly needing help finding housing.  That’s a number individual States can easily afford.  At least those that aren’t wasting their citizens’ resources on frivolous toys like bullet trains or engaging in virtue signaling with their sanctuary city/state foolishness.

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