The American Taxpayer - Sold Out Again
As I stated last week, we need a rescue plan for our financial system that will do the job and make sense for all Americans. One would think, with all the smart people working on the problem and all the gridlock that needs to be overcome that a decent plan would result.
Well, based on what I just read about the Senate plan we, the American taxpayer, are being sold down the river once again by Senators who are "buying" the votes of their colleagues with tax breaks and other sweeteners for the right and left. In other words, how much of the taxpayers' money does the Senate spread around in bribes to get this done so they can go on vacation? Time will only tell, but it will be a lot.
Excerpts from an article about the new Senate bill with my comments follow.
House GOP opposition appeared to be easing after the Senate added $100 billion in tax breaks for businesses and the middle class - what does this have to do with a financial rescue?
The increase in the deposit insurance cap was a bid to reassure individuals and businesses with accounts in banks and similar institutions - not a bad idea and costs us nothing at this point since there is insurance for this.
As revised by the Senate, the package would extend several tax breaks popular with businesses. It would keep the alternative minimum tax from hitting 20 million middle-income Americans, and provide $8 billion in tax relief for those hit by natural disasters in the Midwest, Texas and Louisiana - what does this have to do with a financial rescue?
The Senate specializes in high-stakes legislating-by-enticement, and the long list of sweeteners it added was designed to attract votes from various constituencies - in other words using your money as bribes for votes.
Help for rural schools was aimed mainly at lawmakers in the West, while disaster aid was a top priority for lawmakers from across the Midwest and South Louisiana - what does this have to do with a financial rescue?
Another addition, to extend the deductibility of state and local taxes for people in states without income taxes, helps Florida and Texas, among others Louisiana - what does this have to do with a financial rescue?
And there were plenty of obscure tax breaks to go around, like one for certain wooden arrows used by children, and another benefiting litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill Louisiana - what does this have to do with a financial rescue?
Senate leaders were expected to try adding another goodie before the final vote: extending a tax break for homeowners who do not itemize their tax returns Louisiana - what does this have to do with a financial rescue?
Other provisions added by the Senate include a measure to require large companies' health plans to give equal treatment to mental health or addiction if they cover such illnesses. The House and Senate have passed similar "mental health parity" measures, but none has gone to Bush for his signature - what does this have to do with a financial rescue?
So it looks like we are going to get a financial rescue package, but after the Senate and the House get done piling on all the "sweeteners" they need to buy all the votes necessary for passage it will cost far more than anyone ever envisioned even if the investments pay us back. Just like Congress, take a fairly good idea of investing in the financial well-being of the economy and turn it into "pork-barrel" politics for all comers.
If this doesn't convince you to throw out every Congressperson up for election in November, nothing ever will.
With 1% of the money the Senate is throwing around to buy a few votes I would be the next President of the United States.
"Anything is Possible in America"