Tax Analysts Blog

Doing it Gangnam Style

Posted on Jan 6, 2013

Maine GOP Governor Paul LePage released a YouTube video recently touting his administration’s tax cutting prowess. In particular he highlights the fact that 70,000 low income workers have been relieved of their income tax burden with the elimination of the bottom two percent bracket. The rich also got a break with a reduction of the top marginal rate from 8.5 to 7.95 percent. The Democrats who control the legislature have been blasting LePage for the tax cuts.

There is nothing unusual about any of this except the YouTube appearance. LePage is among the most conservative governors in the country, particularly on social issues. A friend in Maine described him as super caffeinated tea party. In other words, he is not particularly hip. The top YouTube video of all time is Psy's Gangnam Style. Although my personal favorite is the video of Hasidic Jews dancing Gangnam Style. YouTube is full of mildly interesting videos from ferocious polar bear attacks to cute kittens playing the piano. But it’s mostly about music. The second most popular video of all time is Justin Bieber’s Baby.

You might think that YouTube is not the best place for a very conservative politician to be getting his message out. And you would be right. Governor LePage will just never be as cool as Psy or his Hasidic imitators.

Read Comments (2)

Michael KarlinJan 7, 2013

I think there is nothing unusual about using YouTube to make an announcement of
any kind. YouTube makes it incredibly convenient to upload video and, more to
the point, to embed the video on a web page, as Governor LePage did - see
http://www.maine.gov/governor/lepage/. Why waste money on programming a video
message to appear on a website when it's so easy and essentially cost-free to
get in on YouTube and embed it on your own site? I am a Democrat and no fan of
GOP policies, but I see nothing about posting a video of this sort on YouTube
that merits any kind of remark. Governor LePage isn't trying to be cool, he is
just trying to get the word out. Let's stick to commenting on the message, not
the medium.

vivian darkbloomJan 7, 2013

A LePage quote from the interview:

"We created a tax break for capital investment which provides immediate tax
relief for investment made in Maine by existing companies or new companies".

I recently objected to John Cochrane's use of the term "loophole" to refer to
tax provisions such as the one referenced above. Professor Cochrane promised
to abandon that for something else if I were to come up with a suitable
substitute. One of the suggestions I made was "tax break" or
"Congressionally-mandated tax break".

Can you imagine Governor LePage stating that "we created a "tax loophole" for
capital investment..."?

But, when someone wants to eliminate that provision the government very
consciously wrote into the tax code to encourage investment in Maine, they will
almost certainly call it a "loophole".

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