TribLIVE

| Opinion/The Review


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

The concrete tax: Wrong mix

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Letters home ...

Traveling abroad for personal, educational or professional reasons?

Why not share your impressions — and those of residents of foreign countries about the United States — with Trib readers in 150 words?

The world's a big place. Bring it home with Letters Home.

Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

Daily Photo Galleries

Friday, July 11, 2014, 8:57 p.m.
 

When private businesses conspire with the government to fund the former's promotion, customers inevitably pay the freight. It happened with the government-enforced “assessment” on Christmas trees to pay for research and marketing. And it's happening again with a push to seal a similar deal for concrete masonry products.

Instead of a voluntary program within the masonry industry, key players are turning to the feds to set up a compulsory program through the Concrete Masonry Products Research, Education and Promotion Act. If enacted, the program would be managed by the Commerce Department and the Concrete Masonry Products Board, which would be handpicked by the secretary of Commerce.

Don't want to ante up? Too bad.

Naturally, proponents call it an “assessment” or a “fee.” No, what's proposed is a tax that would be compelled and enforced by the government. And as with most taxes, once passed, they tend to increase.

At $0.01 or $0.05 per unit (for example, concrete blocks), the tax is being sold as harmless. But it would yield on average $14 million annually, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And, as is typical, that sum would come out of consumers' pockets.

What's proposed is a distortion of the free market for the benefit of larger businesses and special interests. But just like concrete, if the mix isn't right, what's cast will prematurely deteriorate and fall apart.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Editorials

  1. U.N. Watch: Insulting women
  2. The Export-Import Bank: Yet another crock
  3. Sunday pops
  4. The Box
  5. Myopic automakers should embrace today’s high-tech gearheads, not attempt to stifle their innovations
  6. Auberle continues to heal
  7. The minimum wage: Theaters at stake
  8. Obama’s problem: He denies reality
  9. Alle-Kiski Laurels & Lances
  10. Wolf attack: Reckless words against UPMC
  11. Armstrong County Laurels & Lances