NPR's Michele Norris Wonders if U.S. Can 'Afford' a Job-Creating Tax Holiday

March 16th, 2011 11:52 AM

NPR's Michele Norris expressed the liberal skepticism of any tax incentive to spur job growth on Tuesday's All Things Considered during an interview of Intel CEO Paul Otellini. Otellini proposed a tax holiday for any company that built a new factory in the U.S. Norris replied, "Can this country afford that right now?"

The host asked the CEO about job creation near the end of her interview. She began with a left-of-center premise: "What can the government do to create jobs or can the government create jobs?" Otellini offered a free market solution:

OTELLINI: Well, I mean, the most important thing that the government can do to create jobs is get out of the way, right? Make sure that the regulations for building new factories are easy to get. You can get a new permitting process. The second thing you can do is start attracting human capital....And the third thing is now a new investment capital, and one of the ideas, you know, that I happen to like is anyone that wants to build a new factory in this country, whether it's an American firm or a foreign firm, why don't we give them a five-year tax holiday? It doesn't cost anything, right? You're just deferring the tax revenues that you would ordinarily get. But, meanwhile, you get a factory and you get jobs, and the present value of that, when you look at a factory kind of environment is very, very lucrative. You say, this makes sense now to put a factory here and everybody wins.

Norris then offered her liberal question about being able to "afford" a tax holiday and continued her skepticism after Otellini gave a further explanation:

NORRIS: Can this country afford that right now?

OTELLINI: Well, it doesn't cost anything, right? Right now, you're not getting the investment, you know, and you're not getting the incremental tax revenue. Here you get the investment and you'll get the tax revenue-

NORRIS: Eventually.

OTELLINI: Five years out.

If Otellini wanted to zing Norris, he could have asked her if the U.S. can afford to continue funding NPR's liberal bias.

— Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.