Bailout Bill Passes: Congress Caves to Fear & Panic

October 3, 2008

Cooler heads did not prevail.  The $700 Billion bailout bill for Wall Street is now law.  It passed the house with a vote of 263-171, and President Bush promptly signed it into law.  The Consumer Warning Network’s Terry Smiljanich hoped for a break from the “sky is falling” approach which drove passage of the bailout bill.  Smiljanich appeared on the Tampa FOX affiliates “Your Turn” program and urged lawmakers and citizens to fight the fear and panic.  He hoped they would take time to complete a reasonable review of the bailout package before putting taxpayers on the hook for such an outrageous sum of money.

A measured look at the bill was even more important now that it’s been stuffed full of billions in earmarks and tax breaks that have nothing to do with stabilizing the immediate crisis with the economy.  Here are a few choice ones.

Wooden arrows: This tax break, backed by Oregon’s two senators, would benefit an Oregon manufacturer of wooden arrows for children by $2 million over 10 years.

Racetracks: Earmark would allow auto racetrack owners to depreciate their facilities over seven years, saving the industry $100 million over two years.

Rum: Offers rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands a rebate on excise taxes worth $192 million over two years.

Wool: Reduces tariffs for U.S. makers of wool fabric that use imported yarn, worth $148 million over five years. The measure was pushed by Reps. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., and Melissa Bean, D-Ill.

Exxon Valdez: Plaintiffs in the suit over the 1989 oil spill could spread their tax payments on punitive damages over three years, cutting their tax bill by $49 million. The measure was backed by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

American Samoa: Allows certain corporations to reduce their tax liability on income earned in American Samoa, at a cost of $33 million over two years.

Hollywood: Extends a tax break for film and TV companies that keep their production in the United States, worth $478 million over 10 years. The provision was originally pushed by Rep. Diane Watson, D-Los Angeles.  (Source: Taxpayers for Common Sense)

Well, looks like we’re stuck with it now.  It’s a shame we have such short memories.  Remember, they said the sky was falling last week, and last time we checked it was still there.