Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quotes... (updated)

"We will not Christmas-tree this bill. The times are too urgent. Everyone has their own desires and needs. It's going to have to wait." - Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) re the MOAB on September 22nd...

However, for politicians every day can be Christmas. To 'lubricate' passage of the MOAB, more formally known as the Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, a number of additions of all types were made, for example:
  • "Tucked into pages 262 and 263 of the bill, for example, are provisions that will aid the manufacturers of "certain wooden arrows designed for use by children." The bill will exempt the arrows from an excise tax of 39 cents. There are also tax breaks for race-track owners, for rum imported from Puerto Rico, for worsted wool makers, Hollywood film and television production companies and on and on...." here
  • Sec. 503. Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children. Sec. 317. Seven-year cost recovery period for motorsports racing track facility. Sec. 308. Increase in limit on cover over of rum excise tax to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Sec. 504. Income averaging for amounts received in connection with the Exxon Valdez litigation. Sec. 201. Deduction for state and local sales taxes. Sec. 309. Extension of economic development credit for American Samoa. Sec. 211. Transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters. And others, see here.
  • "... The bailout bill also gives the Internal Revenue Service new authority to conduct undercover operations. It would immunize the IRS from a passel of federal laws, including permitting IRS agents to run businesses for an extended sting operation, to open their own personal bank accounts with U.S. tax dollars, and so on... It lets the IRS give information from individual tax returns to any federal law enforcement agency investigating suspected "terrorist" activity, which can, in turn, share it with local and state police... " See here.
  • "... The Senate bill includes $3.3 billion in federal aid for rural schools, a two-year extension of the popular deduction for states that rely on sales tax and another one-year patch to protect millions of middle-income households from paying the dreaded alternative minimum tax..." See here.
  • Rum imported from Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands gets an excise tax rebate of $13.25 per gallon. The rebate lasts through the end of 2009 and is worth $192 million.
  • Pork Additive #1 - Provisions to keep movie and television production in the U.S. It allows production companies to deduct the cost of “producing” the movies from their taxes. How Much? – It will cost taxpayers about $478 million over 10 years. Pork Addictive #2 – Allow plaintiffs who won damages from the Exxon Mobile spill to average their awards over three years (as oppose to treating it as single year income). How Much? – It will cost the taxpayers about $49 Million.Pork Additive #3 – Allow a seven-year recovery cost for people who build motorsports racetracks.How Much? – It will cost the taxpayers $100 Million.Pork Addictive #4 - Allow citizens who do not pay state income tax also deduct what they pay in sales tax. How Much? – It will cost the taxpayers about $3.3 Billion. See here...
  • "...The benefit allows employers to reimburse bike commuters up to $20 per month tax free for expenses related to their commute by bike. Bike commuters who receive other commuter benefits, such as a transit pass, are not eligible for further reimbursement..." See here.
  • "... 16. Enhanced charitable deductions for contributions of food inventory. 17. Extension of enhanced charitable deduction for contributions of book inventory to schools. 18.Transfer - abandoned mine reclamation fund - Abandoned Funds given to United Mine Workers of America Combined Benefit Fund. 19. Doubles the subsidy for biodiesel production from 50 cents per gallon to $1.00 per gallon. 20. The bailout bill pays a marketing campaign for the Forestry Service or the Bureau of Land Management..." See here.
  • "... And tucked away in the tax provisions is a landmark health care provision demanding that insurance companies provide coverage for mental health treatment—such as hospitalization—on parity with physical illnesses... estimated $3.8 billion five-year cost..." See here.
  • "... The biggest single piece in the package is an extension of protections for millions of middle class families who would otherwise find themselves exposed to the higher levy under the alternative minimum tax... Cost $78.8 billion..." See here.
  • "... a plug-in hybrid vehicle tax credit that was probably first seen in some GM wet dream: "The credit is a base $2,500 plus $417 for each kWh of battery pack capacity in excess of 4 kWh, to a maximum of $7,500 for light-duty vehicles," up to $15,000 for vehicles weighting more than 26,000 pounds..." See here.
You won't find any representative or senator admitting to voting because of these additions However, "... That is why things are … added to bills, to get other people on," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD, said Thursday.

In the House 33 Democrats and 25 Republicans switched votes from "nay" to "yea." Regardless of the merits of the original bill, this blogger has respect for Representatives who voted "yea" or "nay' the first time following their convictions and not because it was the easy thing for them to do (for some examples, see 'The risks of being a yes man.'). However, this blogger has no respect for these fifty-eight representatives. Although there were slight changes to the original bill that these folks had voted against (e.g. raising the FDIC guarantee from $100,000 to $250,000) to provide them a fig leaf for their volte-face, these changes were mostly cosmetic in nature, and their votes were mostly bought.

Note: this blogger does approve of "mental health parity"...

Update: Uh, OK, apparently "... some prayed..." That's OK then...