The news is saturated with discussions about the staggering debt crisis, yet this one article about tax payer subsidies for breeding race horses tells us how we got to this predicament in one easy to understand example. If there is a free market for race horses so be it—let the industry sink or swim all by itself. Instead the industry is propped up from the political left and the political right!
Here we have supposed ten-foot-tall tax payer guru Grover Norquist who would argue that taking away a subsidy put in place by a Democrat and a Republican (Mitch McConnell of the horse breeding capital of America—Kentucky) is tantamount to raising taxes. And Maryland Democrats Mikulski and Cardin are afraid to open their mouths on the subject for fear of antagonizing Maryland horse-industry voters who claim jobs in the industry will be lost. Yet, they eagerly voted to kill the ethanol industry subsidies that mostly effected other regions of the country.
Before you read the article, consider that we produce race horses and literally throw MOST of them away in three years (heck if they had to keep them 7 years for the depreciation, they would have to feed them more than the depreciation is worth). I know a little bit* about horse welfare and the race horse industry is responsible for thousands of horses that don’t make it on the track or will never make it as a breeding animal and are discarded at about the age of three usually with injuries that make the horse unusable for riding. (A well-cared-for horse can live to 30 years and beyond).
Unless, the horse is incredibly lucky, the majority of those poor animals make the circuit of unhappy living situations and ultimately die young. You can’t even give them away! All the while the breeders keep breeding in hopes they will hit the big time with a winner (and are subsidized by you!).
And, as for this employment argument—most breeding farm laborers and track workers are illegal aliens!
So, as far as I’m concerned and all Tea Partiers should be concerned—get the federal government (state government too!) out of the business of supporting businesses like this one with the help of the tax code. It will be a win-win-win all around: save tax dollars, save horses from being born to horrible lives, and lessen the need for illegal immigrant labor in Maryland!
From the Baltimore Sun:
WASHINGTON —— The battle over the federal budget has been playing out slowly in Congress for weeks, but it came galloping toward Maryland’s thoroughbred farms recently in the form of a proposed tax increase.
After threatening to trim the nation’s ballooning budget deficits in part by ending tax breaks on corporate jets, high-priced yachts and hedge funds, Senate Democrats also proposed eliminating a $126 million tax carve-out for the nation’s horse racing industry.
The idea has prompted an outcry from Maryland’s already struggling horse breeders.
“It’s a fallacy that only millionaires and billionaires own racehorses,” Cynthia McGinnes, a breeder and owner of the Thornmar Farm in Chestertown on the Eastern Shore, said of the justification offered for eliminating the break. “I think it would finish the breeding industry.”
The special tax treatment for racehorses was raised on the Senate floor last week in a speech designed to tweak Republicans who have opposed using tax increases to balance the government’s books. But reaction to the idea underscores why finding a compromise on the looming debt crisis has proved so elusive: One person’s wasteful spending is another’s critical, job-producing investment.
Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, who lost re-election last year, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky sponsored the measure in 2007. The language of their legislation was attached to a much larger law that funds farm subsidies and food programs.
Read it all.
While we are getting rid of subsidies for horse breeding, let’s stop subsidizing the Catholic Church, the environmental groups and other Leftist/socialist causes and get back to the basic concept of what the federal government was supposed to do in the first place—keep us safe!
* Full disclosure, before I knew better I bred race horses and now for the last ten years I’ve cared for neglected horses.