Thursday, October 02, 2008

How Cheap the Price of a Vote

The $700 billion bailout is now up to around $850 billion depending on how you calculate the various additions that were tacked on to buy votes.

These so-called principled politicians were dead set against the bill... until... they added provisions for wooden arrows... gave a tax credit to businesses for employees who bought a bike to ride to work... The list of seemingly mundane and frivolous additions is ridiculous. Yet that is all it took to get some to switch their no vote to a yes vote.

How cheap the price of a vote.

How cheap the price of principles.

We are supposedly in crisis mode yet these silly things (with a high price tag) were needed to get the bill passed to save us from the end of the world???

I listened as the very people who caused the problem stood there and patted themselves on the back for getting the bill through. Apple pie, love and harmony, and everyone is beautiful. We played nice, threw in some icing on top of the icing and we deserve your vote and praise.


The three page bill is now something like 650 pages? We'll be sorting through the fine print for decades to come and I believe we are going to regret the passage of this bill. I've been listening as economists and other "experts" discuss what this bill will do and I'm convinced at this point that at best it'll stop things were they are now.

What's next? Once we set the precedent how do we say no to another sector? What happens once we've partially nationalized this segment of our free market? How many agencies are we going to need to create to oversee the enactment and subsequent oversight of / from the bill?

Here's a few things included in the bill:

--- “The Secretary of the Treasury shall enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to undertake a comprehensive review of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to identify the types of and specific tax provisions that have the largest effects on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions and to estimate the magnitude of those effects.”

--- The subsidy for biodiesel production doubles, going from 50 cents per gallon to $1.00 per gallon.

--- The “Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008,” (Bill number S.558) for companies with more than 50 employees, requires group insurance plans to have deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and annual and lifetime limits for mental health and drug addition/abuse coverage which are no more restrictive or expensive for the policy holder than those same items for other medical and surgical coverage.

--- Tax breaks for rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands ($192 million)

--- Tax breaks for motorsports racing track facilities ($128 million)

--- Tax breaks for Alaskan fishermen ($223 million)

--- The extension of the “exemption of undercover operations (by the IRS) from certain laws”

'Sweetened' bailout plan stuffed with pork

Tax Earmarks, Pork and Other Bailout Bill Horrors

Florida's Sen. Nelson Votes Against Bailout Plan

Plus a whole host of other articles, discussions and a very tiny, tiny bit of talk radio.

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