The original compromise tax bill was a mixed bag, at best. I understood the benefits, as well as the conservative arguments against. At least we were arguing over the merits of the bill.
Now the tax deal is becoming an insult to the Republican and independent voters who just over a month ago expressed their disgust with the ways of Washington. Instead of arguing over the merits, we’re buying votes mostly (but not exclusively) of Democrats.
As reported by AP:
In the spirit of the holiday season, President Barack Obama’s tax-cut deal with Republicans is becoming a Christmas tree tinseled with gifts for lobbyists and lawmakers….
Almost $5 billion in subsidies for corn-based ethanol and a continuing tariff to protect against ethanol imports were wrapped up and placed on the tree Thursday night for farm-state lawmakers and agribusiness lobbyists. Environmentalists won more grants for developers of renewable energy, like wind and solar.
For urban lawmakers, there’s a continuation of about-to-expire tax breaks that couldsave commuters who use mass transit about $1,000 a year. Other popular tax provisions aimed at increasing production of hybrid automobiles, biodiesel fuel, coal and energy-efficient household appliances would be extended through the end of 2011 under the new add-ons.
The package also includes an extension of two Gulf Coast tax incentive programs enacted after Hurricane Katrina to spur economic development in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.
So, once again we get a Cornhusker Kickback and Louisiana Purchase in order to pass legislation which apparently cannot stand on its own merits.
Except this time it’s worse, because Republicans are a party to the payoffs, not standing in opposition as they were with Obamacare.
If there aren’t enough Democratic votes to pass the tax deal without payoffs, then let it fail. Elections matter, and the nation is sick and tired of passing unpopular bills by paying off Senators.
If the original tax deal was good enough, then there will be plenty of opportunity in January to pass a bill without these payoffs. Or perhaps an even better bill.
I’ve changed the concluding sentence to this post several times, in successive acts of increasing discretion. I think you understand what I’m talking about. After all, there could be children reading.