When it has the same incentives as a handout or ransom note.
One of the problems with American politics, or politics anywhere, is the politicians tendency to ingratiate their status with voters by appearing to give folks gifts of the voters own money. Such things sound great on the campaign trail. They all essentially boil down to:
I put more money in your wallet. If you would like me to keep doing that, vote for me.
That’s what I thought when I heard about the ridiculous two-month extension of the payroll tax cut. What politicians are really saying when they extend a tax cut for two months at a time is:
I will continue holding your wallet hostage. The ransom is your vote for me.
I want you to feel dependent on me, vote for me.
While I’m usually for tax cuts, I don’t care much for tax cuts designed intently to increase politicians’ (real or perceived) power.