By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com
Since this topic of bailout has been a huge source of frustration, I'll share with you the only good news I've read about it. TheDrudgeReport ran a headline that "Billy O'Reilly blasts Barney Frank over Fannie Mess". That's Rep. Frank (D-MA), the Chairmen of the House Committee on Financial Services, and male prostitute (prostidude?) connoisseur, regarding his alleged role in the Fannie Mae debacle. Whether it was a dig at his previous scandal, an inadvertent pun, or an allegation that he looks like the kinda guy that often has a messy fannie, you Gotta love puns on the DrudgeReport.
Ok, fun's over. The vote today on the revised Bill, HR 1424, is of massive importance, and had better pass. When the original bill (HR 3997) was shot down earlier in the week it had to be re-worked and voted on again because even those that voted "nay" realized something has to be done. As with all things Washington, "re-worked" doesn't mean that the plan was drastically re-rewritten and fundamentally altered, it means that it's still pretty much the same but with a ton of earmarks* attached. Just because passing HR1424 is pretty much a national emergency, does that mean that it's such an emergency that it can't be kitted-out with some pork? Hell no. Just ask Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). He had time to see to it that a provision (i.e. earmark) were attached to the bill that helped out the makers of wooden arrows (yes, as in "bows and arrows"), and would be worth about $200,000 for Rose City Archery in Myrtle Point, Oregon. Classy move, Asshole.
Now, you might be saying, "Wow, Ron Wyden sure sounds like an asshole alright. But, I'm a NASCAR fan and surely, you'd agree that NASCAR-related tax breaks are as important as a national financial bailout. Are there any earmarks in the bill related to that?" The answer is yes. You are in luck. Taxpayers For Common Sense reports:
"Creation of a seven-year cost recovery period for construction of a motorsports racetrack: Track owners currently follow a seven-year depreciation schedule and write each year's depreciation off their taxes. The IRS wanted to increase the depreciation timetable to 15 years, which would mean the track owner's depreciation would be cut in half. The measure in the keeps the seven-year depreciation schedule for two years and would cost taxpayers $100 million."
Oh good. I wasn't able to find the congressman that added that crucially important earmark, but I hope that information surfaces in the coming days. If you're a mashochist and would like to read more on pork going along for the ride with HR 1424 you can check the following: The previous link to Taxpayers for Common Sense- CNN and the NYPost and probably every other outlet covering this appears to be just be making footnotes to TFCS article. It reads a bit like a textbook, but is very detailed. This CNN article does a good job of making it easier to take in and is a link from this article, in which all of the links in it are pretty useful. http://financialservices.house.gov/ is the homepage of the committee sponsoring the bill (and has a hot pic of your boy Barney Frank). Lastly, Today's NYPost covers it in tradition Post fashion- easily digestible but not too in-depth.
Lastly, I'll make a self-indulgent side note. As you either know or can figure out easily, this blog is not exactly on the radar of national media. No, it's ok to snicker at that, don't feel guilty. But after I ran this article where I display the names of all the congressmen that voted against the original bailout bill, I've gotten over 20 hits from Congressional computers to my blog. Congressmen (or their handlers, more likely) have Googled themselves and wound up here I have also had hits that were linked to here via email- meaning that someone emailed their congressman that page, or someone a congressional representative passed it along to a fellow rep. and probably said something like, "Even a-hole bloggers are calling us out. We probably ought to vote yes, and include less pork this time." That's how you know this bill is a big deal. People in Congressional offices are reading this blog.
UPDATE: Get the Vote Results here.
*= Earmarks, or "pork" or "pork barrel spending". What happens too often in Washington is that a Congressman is writing a bill that he needs to pass because he promised its contents to his constituents and he has to grease the skids to get it to pass. He may need just one more vote for to get it to pass, so he'll approach a fellow congressman that he knows will be voting on that bill, who probably doesn't care about that bill one way or the other and ask, "What is it I can do to this bill to ensure you vote in favor of it?" And the congressman will say "Well, I'm about to buy a ranch in Montana and retire there. So if you can add a page to the bill saying "The taxes of all purchases on Montana ranches should drop from 8% to 7.4% that would guarantee my vote." And then it's done. Some bills require more than one earmark from even greedier congressmen.
"Fannie mess" hehehehe.
Friday, October 3, 2008
By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com