I suppose we are making intellectual progress of a sort when David Brooks in the New York Times, who presumably has millions of readers, quotes David Bradford's classic illustration of the tax expenditure concept:
"Suppose the Pentagon wanted to buy a new fighter plane. But instead of writing a $10 billion check to the manufacturer, the government just issued a $10 billion 'weapons supply tax credit.' The plane would still get made. The company would get its money through the tax credit. And politicians would get to brag that they had cut taxes and reduced the size of government!"