North suburban Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) explains why some industries should pay lower taxes (or no taxes).

North suburban Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) explains why some industries should pay lower taxes (or no taxes).

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider outside the U.S. Postal Service Chicago headquarters on Aug. 18, 2020.  (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

Another “loophole” for American railroads?

Rich people and big business ought to pay their “fair share” of taxes.”

The liberal/progressive/woke paladins so endlessly repeat the “fair share” instructions that “cliche” doesn’t come close to describing it. It’s as if they’ll be excommunicated if they leave it out of their, ahem, guidance.

As recently as today, President Joe Biden raised it again, jabbing Exxon with this demand: “Start investing, start paying your taxes.”

It’s a simple-minded argument for simpletons. For them it sounds like Exxon is a tax cheat, paying zero taxes. It’s never explained how Exxon, the “one-percenters” and big corporations dodge the IRS.

Maybe the high priests of woke are stupid enough to not know that many Americans aren’t stupid enough to buy it.

The tax code is so full of exceptions, exclusions and other breaks because someone thought that special breaks should be provided in the public interest. For a societal good. Like the deductions allowed for home ownership mortgage interest. Those “breaks” are written into the tax code by Congress. Exxon didn’t make them up.

Brad Schneider, a Democrat congressman representing some of the wealthy Chicago suburbs on the North Shore, could explain it to Biden.

He’s introduced legislation that gives a tax credit for those wealthy enough to buy railcars. It’s not a new tax break, but would continue as “loophole” going back decades.It created investment opportunities for, say, physicians who were looking for a place to park their extra cash. It produced extra cash as the owners leased the box cars, tankers, gondolas and other freight cars to the railroads.

The public good that the tax break achieves, according to its backers, is encouraging investment in “more environmentally” friendly rail cars, by making them more fuel efficient and able to carry bigger loads.

As Railroad Age reported:

The new version of the bill offers a time-limited 10 percent tax credit for new railcars or the modification of existing railcars to offset the costs of either replacing two existing railcars with a new railcar that would improve fuel efficiency or capacity by at least 8 percent, modernizing an existing railcar to improve fuel efficiency or capacity by at least 8%, or upgrading a car to DOT-117 tank car specifications.

Lucky us.

Maybe the solution is to eliminate all such credits and other breaks. Or, as the Biden administration has proposed, a world-wide minimum corporate tax of 15 percent.

Of course, all those politicians who are campaigning on the “pay-their-fair-share” baloney should give up their breaks.

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