What explains it?
The Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget bill features tax breaks for countless progressive causes, but one buried in the fine print is a doozy. The House Ways and Means Committee voted last week to subsidize journalists. Congress wants to subsidize the only institution less popular than . . . Congress.
The “Payroll Credit for Compensation of Local News Journalists” offers print and digital publishers up to $50,000 a year for each journalist on staff. The tax credits are capped at 50% of each employee’s wage in the first year and drop to 30% thereafter. “Democracy depends on original reporting, and local newspapers are responsible for more than half of that,” Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden told the Seattle Times last week.
To qualify for the credit, a publication must have no more than 750 employees. It also must “[serve] the needs of a regional or local community,” and employ at least one journalist who lives in that area.
Some people must think that anything good for the public is automatically a public good deserving to be paid for by government. But this way of thinking is obviously irrational.
Or maybe Congress wants to make state-controlled media official; never mind the long list of gross failures such experiments have produced in the past.
Or maybe it is just so sad that journalism today has cancer. We must do something; if only one child and so forth.
I’m baffled. A federal subsidy for news organizations is so thoroughly anti-American I can’t imagine there is any explanation except that America no longer exists.