Capital Markets

One Lump or Ten?

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Andrew Leonard goes digging in the Senate's bailout package and finds a bunch of "sweeteners" added to lure in votes. Among them:

* Sec. 105. Energy credit for geothermal heat pump systems.
* Sec. 111. Expansion and modification of advanced coal project investment credit.
* Sec. 113. Temporary increase in coal excise tax; funding of Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.
* Sec. 115. Tax credit for carbon dioxide sequestration.
* Sec. 205. Credit for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles.
* Sec. 405. Increase and extension of Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund tax.
* Sec. 309. Extension of economic development credit for American Samoa.
* Sec. 317. Seven-year cost recovery period for motorsports racing track facility.
* Sec. 501. $8,500 income threshold used to calculate refundable portion of child tax credit.
* Sec. 503 Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.

There are also tax credits for solar and wind power, and a very expensive requirement that health insurance companies cover mental health the same way they cover physical health.

But remember, this is only about preventing an economic cataclysm.

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  1. Sec. 503 Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.

    That’s my favorite. They’re cutting taxes *and* arming children. I like this trend.

  2. The funny thing is that although the bailout belongs to Bush, lock stock and barrel, putting that mental health thing in there actually creates some veto risk.

    It would be funny to watch the MSM celebrate as their pet statism bill finally passes the Senate and House, and then watch their crestfallen faces as their hopes are crushed by an unanticipated Presidential veto.

  3. Our lords and rulers would never think of using a fake emergency to advance their pet projects. Never.

    I wish there was one–just one–major media figure who had the balls or inclination to call these shitheads out for their bullshit, but unfortunately, there isn’t.

  4. Wait a second, I want to tack on a rider to this bailout. Thirty million dollars of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.

  5. Why did McCain vote in favour of this pork-laden bill?

  6. Shouldn’t John McCain have voted against this bill on principle…oh wait…he doesn’t have any.

  7. AAARRGGHH, FLIGGLE NOGGLE SPAH BOOSH GRIFFEN DOFF! RIGATOAD!

  8. I like those folks down on Wall Street holding the signs “Jump! You Fuckers!”. They pissed away their money now they want to steal ours and our “leaders” are only too happy to hand it over, they just got to get their share stuck in the bill first.

  9. oh, and Fluffy and Episiarch, I assume CNN/Lou Dobbs simply aren’t major or MSM enough to count?
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=1DCA4QxZeVY

  10. But…wouldn’t those be…

    EARMARKS!!!

    [Dah-dun-dahhh!]

    NNNOOOOOOOOOO!

  11. oh, and Fluffy and Episiarch, I assume CNN/Lou Dobbs simply aren’t major or MSM enough to count?

    The real problem with Dobbs is when he’s right (which isn’t often) he hurts the cause.

  12. The Senate was conceived as a place where more due deliberation would occur, with politicians that would, hopefully, be more statesman like than their colleagues on the other side of the Capitol. Unfortunately, that is not the case, as this vote clearly highlights.

    Repeal the 17th, please.

  13. I wonder if it would be possible to reverse-engineer this bill, and figure out exactly whose vote is being bought with each particular item.

  14. I assume CNN/Lou Dobbs simply aren’t major or MSM enough to count?

    I don’t listen to anything Lou says because he is an insane dipshit. Even a stopped clock yadda yadda.

  15. Soups’ on at the cannibal-pot, kids. Eat up.

  16. This is just what Naomi Klein warned us about!!!

  17. I thought that, since all appropriations bills originate in the House, that they had to take a tax bill already passed in the House and on the Senate docket for consideration to mark up and add the bailout language to.

    In other words, the pork didn’t get added to the bailout. The bailout got added to the pork.

  18. Repeal the 17th, please.

    ProL, I’m pretty sure it *didn’t* go downhill because senators have to pander to the people now instead of to state parties and legislative apparatchiks.

    They were assholes before the 17th, by and large.

  19. Soups’ on at the cannibal-pot, kids. Eat up.

    “If you die first, I am definitely going to eat you. But the question is, if I die, what are you going to do? Bon app?tit…eat or die.”

  20. Jamie, you got me there.

    I don’t watch Dobbs, so I don’t know what he has to say about the bailout.

    It’s nice that Lou could take time out from endlessly repeating his single looped show about hating Mexicans to talk about the bailout.

  21. And a big (but unspecified in the quoted article) tax credit for “Hollywood” apparently. From the LA Times:

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-bailout2-2008oct02,0,4103411.story

    Others were aimed at narrower interests to win the votes of specific lawmakers, such as a tax break to encourage Hollywood studios to do more filming in the United States.

    The tax provisions added more than $100 billion to the cost of the plan. From the original three-page proposal by the Treasury Department, the bill has swelled to 451 pages.

  22. Elemenope,

    Undoubtedly they were, but they were different kinds of assholes with different constituencies. Having two houses that cater to the same people removes a check on government. I think it’s safe to say that we have too few checks and balances now, not too many. It may or may not be a coincidence that government has grown and grown and grown since the Senate went to a popular vote, but I think it’s most likely a contributing factor.

  23. I wonder if it would be possible to reverse-engineer this bill, and figure out exactly whose vote is being bought with each particular item.

    I’m pretty sure the stuff for American Samoa was largesse to bring the Hawaiian senators, Inouye and Akaka, on board. The motorsports racing facility stuff has the stink of local Hawaii politics, too.

    And since half of the nation’s solar panel installations occur in Hawaii, that’s “our” pork too, though McCain may have had a hand in that — lots of sunshine in AZ.

    I’m starting to see why our House delegation voted “no”, while our Senate delegation voted “yes”, especially since neither of those fuckers is up for reelection this year — not that that matters in Hawaii — once you’re in Congress, you’re in until you retire or die, and not necessarily even then. I’m referring, of course, to the infamous “re-electing Patsy Mink even though she was already dead and buried” debacle.

    Wow, I hate local politics here.

  24. Brian,

    All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives

    Appropriations bills can originate in either body.

  25. lmnop,

    The combo of the 16th and the 17th is the problem. When you dont have the power to directly tax income but instead have to ask each state for its proportionate share of the money (or pass a destruction tariff) the senators appointed by the body that is going to have to come up with the money by taxing their constituents tend to throw a fit.

  26. Damn – A Ravenous quote. Never thought I’d see the day.

  27. I call for a redo on 1913. The most destructive year in US hitory.

  28. McCain voted for it because despite all the hype, he LIKES pork. I’m still thanking God so many of my tax dollars went toward attacking those privately-issued precious metal backed currencies. And news media, whatever you do, don’t look into precious metals derivatives even though the problem stretches back to the Clinton era. Good thing the legal system very artfully ignored it. Sigh.

  29. Well, I for one think we should have an economic cataclysm maybe once a month, because I have both a geothermal heat pump and a black lung, plus I spill oil everywhere! See you in the welfare line, suckers, because I am sittin’ pretty!

  30. Damn – A Ravenous quote. Never thought I’d see the day.

    I had to. It had to be done.

  31. It may or may not be a coincidence that government has grown and grown and grown since the Senate went to a popular vote, but I think it’s most likely a contributing factor.

    I think the two biggest contributors to the explosion in growth of the federal government since the early 1900s were the amendments allowing the income tax, and women’s suffrage.

    Not against women’s suffrage, BTW, just saying that women tend to be a bit more nanny-statist and big-government supporters than men ON AVERAGE, as even a casual perusal of the voting split by gender for Democrats / Republicans / Libertarians would show. I mean, it’s a fucking sausagefest here at H&R. (Hi, Jennifer and Miche!)

  32. Can someone explain why little toy plastic arrows with the little rubber suction tips aren’t as vital to our economic salvation as wooden arrows?

  33. Damn – A Ravenous quote. Never thought I’d see the day.

    Carlyle threw together a mite creepy performance for that little ditty.

  34. Can someone explain why little toy plastic arrows with the little rubber suction tips aren’t as vital to our economic salvation as wooden arrows?

    Population control, bitches!

  35. Can someone explain why little toy plastic arrows with the little rubber suction tips aren’t as vital to our economic salvation as wooden arrows?

    Population control, bitches!

    No, no… it’s a pork barrel provision to the glass eye industry.

  36. LMNOP, Carlyle was great. And the soundtrack…did you know that the lead singer of Blur, that douchebaggy band, was half responsible for it? Fucking great. Of course, the other half was Michael Nyman, but still.

  37. Shouldn’t John McCain have voted against this bill on principle…oh wait…he doesn’t have any.

    McCain blows another opportunity. Turning this into a Christmas tree gave him exactly what he needed to pivot and start running against a grossly unpopular bill and Congress. A tool and a fool.

  38. First emancipation, then sufferage. It’s been downhill every since.

  39. GIMMEGIMMEGIMMEEEEEEEE!!!

  40. Brian is essentially correct, according to Sen. Specter. He said on radio this morning that the bailout had to be attached to a bill they were already considering in order to “get around” the House origination problem.

    So we are now likely to get a worse bill than the one many libertarians and free marketers railed against, because all the pork would not have been added had the House measure passed.

  41. And the soundtrack…

    You know, I honestly don’t remember the soundtrack…or much of the plot for that matter. Just Carlyle and digging holes and cannibalism and a bear trap near the end. And I remember liking it, so there’s that.

    I made the mistake of watching a movie that takes place in Alaska sitting next to an Alaska native, and he wouldn’t stop bitching about all the “things they got wrong”. It was distracting. Usually I have a dead-on memory for quotes and scenes, but that movie is fuzzy for me.

  42. No, no… it’s a pork barrel provision to the glass eye industry.

    Clearly you have not watched The Sopranos.

  43. I made the mistake of watching a movie that takes place in Alaska sitting next to an Alaska native

    Ravenous does not take place in Alaska, dude. It takes place in northern California. You must have been royally stoned to forget so many details.

  44. creech,

    Since the bill now contains a coal tax increase provision, yeah, it requires house origination. There may have been some revenue aspect to the original one too.

  45. Clearly you have not watched The Sopranos.

    Oh, I have. But when the environuts got into the debate, Big Glass Eye had to back the “sustainable” wooden arrow to cobble together a coalition so they could push to bring back the recycled aluminum and shredded newspaper lawn dart.

    Don’t you keep up with the news? Sheesh.

  46. Almost a trillion fucking dollars and all we can do is bitch about it on the Internet.

    See? This is the problem with being so enlightened and advanced. We don’t eve think about armed rebellion any longer. I mean, can we at least surround the Capitol with a mob carrying lit torches and pitchforks?

  47. Big Glass Eye

    Whoah, dude…can’t you leave Sammy Davis Jr. and Sandy Duncan out of this?

  48. JW,

    We don’t eve think about armed rebellion any longer. I mean, can we at least surround the Capitol with a mob carrying lit torches and pitchforks?

    It worked in Tennessee a few years ago.

  49. Really, things went downhill when we stopped tarring and feathering.

  50. Prolefeed:

    Women’s suffrage? Sausage fest? From my reading, sex/gender has little to do with the political issues Reason discusses.

    There are plenty of women who comment on these feeds, and we are not all nanny-statists.

    Scumbag.

  51. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives

    Appropriations bills can originate in either body.

    True, but they’ve now made this a tax bill (also). Not that there’s any recourse, of course.

  52. Well, my nanny was a woman. Therefore it makes sense to believe that women who vote are more likely to support a nanny state.

    I LOVES me some pork!

    USA! USA! USA!

  53. I wonder if it would be possible to reverse-engineer this bill, and figure out exactly whose vote is being bought with each particular item.

    It’s not possible unless we get get them all to testify before congress under penalty of perjury to find out. Being honorable men and women, they wouldn’t dare lie under oath.

    Also, the sun will rise in the west tomorrow.

  54. Ravenous does not take place in Alaska, dude. It takes place in northern California. You must have been royally stoned to forget so many details.

    Oh shit, now I remember. The Alaska native (that fact turning out to be irrelevant to what he was bitching about) was bitching about the torturing of the Wendigo legend that the movie committed.

    I’m not a purist (in pretty much anything) so it didn’t bug me that Hollywood raped *yet another* story that was holy or special to some small group of people, so long as they made it coherent and entertaining. The only time it does annoy me is when they do it to no discernible plot or cinematic purpose (looking at you, Disney, you bunch of cretinous mythology-fuckers).

    He bitched about Alaska during Insomnia I believe. Or some other Alaska movie. I forget.

  55. Speaking of the constitution everyone must keep in mind that contributing to some (most?) of the ‘sweeteners’ is art 1 sect 7:

    “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.”

    So a lot of this stuff was already in a bill that was working its way through the house and senate, and the ‘economy recovery’ portion is actually an amendment to that bill. So techinically, the bailout is the pork.

  56. Can someone explain why little toy plastic arrows with the little rubber suction tips aren’t as vital to our economic salvation as wooden arrows?

    Very simply, the owner of a large arrow manufacturer knows a senator. The tax code is full of bizarre credits that benefit only one entity. I’ve seen credits where one of my clients had a lobbyist get a specific, patented technological process, which only they can use, inserted by name into a provision for a tax credit.

  57. He bitched about Alaska during Insomnia I believe

    The real Insomnia is Norwegian. Sounds like your friend should just shut up already.

  58. The mental health rider is the only one that seems to address the real issues.
    I believe in the sanity clause.

  59. There is no Sanity Clause, kid. It’s your parents.

  60. joe,

    It’s your parents.

    You clearly dont know my parents.

  61. I’m all for lower taxes, but why is there an excise tax on wooden arrows in the first place? When did this industry become big enough to warrant the attention required to pass a special tax on it?

    That mental health requirement could be a killer. What if I don’t want mental health coverage? I have better things to spend my money on. Minimum coverage mandates are terrible.

  62. * Sec. 113. Temporary increase in coal excise tax; funding of Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

    All bills to raise revenue must be initiated
    in the house of representatives.

  63. One postive effect from this package: I showed sec. 503 to my high school economics class today and once they stopped laughing, I think most of them trusted Congress less then they did when they walked in.

  64. If the “mental health” provision required the entire Congress to be hauled off in straitjackets, I could support it.

  65. This Congressional action is so cynical/insane, it’s as if Congress is just daring people to come by and murder them.

  66. All bills to raise revenue must be initiated
    in the house of representatives.

    Whew. Thought we broke the law for a sec. This bill merely raises spending.

  67. Invisible finger:

    Look more closely at the part marked in bold:

    Sec. 113. Temporary increase in coal excise tax; funding of Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

    Increasing a tax is increasing revenue. Unless you actually listen to those capital gains nutters.

  68. * Sec. 205. Credit for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles.

    Now is my time to lobby for funding of my effort to develop a 400 mile long extension cord.

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