We’ll bail out you and all your friends; want to buy some wooden arrows?
by Mark Wilson, Editor
October 3, 2008
While all of America was busy with Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, the House of Representatives just passed the Senate’s version of H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
But that’s not all they passed.
Lawmakers in Congress, when faced with a do-or-die piece of legislation, restrained themselves and limited the legislation only to those things that were absolutely necessary to solve the current economic crisis.
Just kidding! H.R. 1424 has more pork than a Texas barbeque festival. Everyone in Congress saw this bill as a free lunch and packed it full of all the earmarks they could ever want, since the bill needed to be passed and the picayune portions couldn’t be debated, for the sake of time. Thanks, Congress.
The bill contains three divisions. The first is for economic relief. Fair enough.
The second division is a completely different piece of legislation, the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008. It deals with energy emissions and renewable energy credits. How is this related to economic recovery?
The third division is even better. It is the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008. This bill is something Democrats have wanted for a long time; namely, increasing the exemption from the AMT, which was designed to catch those people who were using tax loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Unfortunately, the AMT has also ensnared middle-income Americans in its net. Good idea to give those people exemptions, but what is this legislation doing here?
And by the way, Division C doesn’t just deal with the Alternative Minimum Tax. Here are some other fun tax incentives that have been rolled into this absolutely necessary legislation:
- § 202 of Title II extends the exemption of school supplies purchased by elementary and secondary school teachers until 2009.
- § 308 of Title III increases the limit of the rum excise tax to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
- § 309 of Title III extends an economic development tax credit to American Samoa until 2010.
- § 310 of Title III extends expensability of mine safety equipment until 2010.
- § 311 of Title III lengthens the tax credit of “domestic production activities” in Puerto Rico until 2010.
- § 314 of Title III lengthens an Indian employment tax credit until 2010.
- § 317 of Title III increases the cost recovery period of a “motorsports racing track facility” to 2009.
- § 502 of Title V extends tax exemption for “qualified film and television productions” to 2009.
- § 503 of Title V exempts from excise tax “certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.”