“GRANT ME chastity and continence,” St. Augustine famously prayed as a youth. “But not yet.” That same sentiment seems to have governed the Senate Finance Committee’s deliberations this week as the panel went through the annual exercise of extending special-interest tax breaks that clutter the Internal Revenue Code. One after another, members of the committee professed their belief in tax reform, proclaimed that Congress must achieve it soon — and then explained why it would be unfair to give up this or that provision favoring their constituents until the blessed day arrives.
This was a bipartisan game. Sens. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, and Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, piped up to protect, for another two years, an accelerated write-off for NASCAR racetracks. Cost: $78 million over 10 years. “Big tax reform is where we need to look at all this stuff,” Ms. Stabenow said. Meanwhile, “an economic development issue for Michigan” is more important.