March 7, 2021

Economix Blog: Who Pays the Supercommittee?

The 12 members of the “supercommittee” that will try to develop yet another bipartisan fiscal policy proposal have now been named. What types of spending programs and tax breaks should we expect these members to care about most?

It might help to look at which industries and individuals give them the most money.

CATHERINE RAMPELL

CATHERINE RAMPELL

Dollars to doughnuts.

MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization, has compiled donation profiles for each of the 12 members, using data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Over the last decade the top donor, by far, was the legal industry, followed by securities and investment:

Top 10 Industry Contributors to Supercommittee Members

The individual organizations that gave the most money — including both PAC money and employee donations — were the Club for Growth, followed by Microsoft.

Top 10 Organization Contributors (PACs and Employees) to Supercommittee Members

As all good economists know, incentives matter: Politicians (like all people) are generally reluctant to bite the hand that feeds them.

Given that the antitax group Club for Growth is at the top of the list of organizational contributors, for example, we might not be surprised to find that many of the committee members are dead-set against raising taxes.

Likewise, donations from the securities and investment industry might indicate that legislators could be reluctant to eliminate the lower tax rate for “carried interest,” which primarily benefits investment managers. Donations from the real estate industry might mean the mortgage interest tax deduction, whose elimination many economists support,  could also be relatively protected.

How else might we expect the sources of these donations to shape how committee members think about fiscal policy?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=06d2b03897e5759c72e86857a333fd27

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