Advertising has been under attack in Washington, D.C. for more than a decade, and never more than in recent years. Opponents of advertising want to restrict its content, give the Federal Trade Commission increased power to regulate it, and – in these difficult economic times – many want to tax advertising for the revenues it could generate to fund government programs.
Advertising historically has drawn a wide range of critics committed to translating their criticism into legislative proposals. More than a decade ago the these legislative attacks focused on advertising for tobacco or alcohol products. Today, the attention has been directed at the potential revenue from taxing advertising, as well as proposed moratoriums and limits on advertising for prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, and children’s foods.
Support for taxing advertising by limiting its deductibility has been bipartisan. In the past 15 years, we have faced major efforts to tax advertising from Republican and Democratic Administrations, as well as legislative proposals originating from both sides of the political aisle.