But his plan to treat “manufacturing” as a special category, with a 25 percent tax rate, brings us to what I call Obama’s hamburger problem.
The problem is how to define manufacturing. To paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart on obscenity, I know manufacturing when I see it; I just don’t know how to define it in tax law.
Assembling automobiles is considered manufacturing. So what about assembling two hot protein discs with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions — all on a sesame seed bun?
The notion of hamburger-making as manufacturing may seem silly, a bit like the 1981 U.S. Agriculture Departmentproposal to classify ketchup as a vegetable for school lunches. But classifying activities as manufacturing or not becomes crucial if manufacturers pay taxes at a reduced rate.