April 22, 2005 [LINK]

Phantom fans and tax reform

I noticed that the Washington Post is using the phrase "announced attendance" (as in 30,728 yesterday) when referring to games at RFK, a subtle hint that a lot of paid-for seats are not occupied. I have noticed nominal attendance being at least ten or twenty percent in excess of apparent attendance at some games on TV and in person, and I wonder if anyone has tabulated actual human attendance and the difference between that and paid attendance. Why would anyone in their right mind buy tickets without intending to see the game? Well, most of those empty seats are for season ticket holders, of course, and most of those are bought by corporations and lobbying firms who use them as deal-making incentives. Since they get to write off ticket expenses on their tax returns anyway, the bosses really don't care so much if the tickets don't get used on some days. ball That is one more reason why I favor elimination of the corporate income tax (replaced by a luxury tax so as to be revenue-neutral), to eliminate all those accounting loopholes that create needless distortions in our economy. (Unbeknownst to most people, total corporate income tax revenues are much less than the total of personal income tax anyway.) Of course, such a radical reform would take most of the fun out of being a congressperson, most of whom spend much of their time monkeying with the U.S. Tax Code in order to satsify lobbyists, in order to raise funds for reelection, in order to ... why did they originally run for office, again?