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Coupons -- 50 cents off, buy-one-get-one-free -- are usually attractive and make customers feel well. However, a WSJ writer David Wessel pointed out that "Tons of Tiny Tax Breaks Prove to Be Addictive and... Taxing" . (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115274491342405064.html?mod=politics_primary_hs)
David says that adding tax break to the dozens of others that decorate the tax code, we get higher tax rates than otherwise needed to bring in the same sum. We get a lot of hassle and complexity that chews up time and money.
David also quoted Joel Slemrod, a University of Michigan tax economist, said that why politicians use many tiny tax breaks instead of a big one is due to "marketing theory".