I lolled:

But at this part I did not lol:

Congratulations taxpayers! Your senators have ridden to the rescue and approved a piece of legislation that should ungum the credit crunch. You'll now be able to buy that car. In the process, your lawmakers also approved extended tax breaks for the film industry in Puerto Rico, and for the makers of "certain wooden arrows designed for use by children."

I kid you not.

I won't bore you with the details, but if you're interested, the Puerto Rican film industry provision is on page 298 of the massive 400-plus page bill, which the senators approved Wednesday evening to Save Americans.

"The exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children," provision occurs shortly after that.

That provision is then followed by another that allows people who received income from the settlement of the Exxon Valdez oil spill litigation to treat it as income from the fishing industry for tax purposes.

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36 Responses:

  1. elusis says:

    I am most displeased that mental health parity had to get attached to this nightmare of a Bad Idea Dinosaur-fest. Parity needs to get passed but I fear the eternal stain of the bailout.

  2. ommadawn says:

    Guess if you add enough pork to anything you can get it down.

  3. gths says:

    This is the sort of crap you'd expect out of the Italian Parliament.

  4. otterley says:

    All that's left is for the House to throw in a provision that everyone gets a free puppy, and it will be as good as law.

  5. wdr1 says:

    SEC. 503. EXEMPTION FROM EXCISE TAX FOR CERTAIN WOODEN ARROWS DESIGNED FOR USE BY CHILDREN.
    (a) IN GENERAL.-Paragraph (2) of section 4161(b) is amended by redesignating subparagraph (B) as sub-paragraph (C) and by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following new subparagraph:

    (B) EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN WOODEN ARROW SHAFTS.-Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any shaft consisting of all natural wood with no laminations or artificial means of enhancing the spine of such shaft (whether sold separately or incorporated as part of a finished or unfinished product) of a type used in the manufacture of any arrow which after its assembly
    "(i) measures 5âÂ

  6. gwynjudd says:

    I almost think we'd be better off with China running things for a while.

    Almost.

    • korgmeister says:

      Where do you think the 700 billion's coming from? The taxpayers? Nah, that'd require a budget surplus. Ain't seen one of them since Clinton.

      But yeah, when I heard this new version was 400 pages long I wondered what the hell kinda stuff did they try to sneak in here. I was admittedly expecting something much more malign than subsidies for the Puerto-Rican film industry.

      • malokai says:

        or about 350bn in bonds.

      • You seem to be under the justifiable misconception that the Chinese sovereign wealth fund still thinks, or is likely to think again any time soon, that the US is a good investment.

        I work (in IT) in the mortgage business. Here's a hint: China doesn't think that, and they won't any time soon.

  7. taffer says:

    I've never understood this weird-assed "rider" bullshit the American congress seems to abuse constantly... AFAIK this isn't allowed at all in Canadian parliament, bills are about one thing and one thing only.

    Note that I'm not claiming our politicians are any less corrupt or stupid, etc.

    Where did the "rider" stuff come from and why is it allowed?

    • notthebuddha says:

      It's an abuse of the process of amending a bill that just hasn't been outlawed because it is so popular for funding pet projects and repaying supporters, and because relatively few bills pass. We even have a figure of speech for a drawn-out and uncertain undertaking that "takes an act of Congress" to achieve.

      AFAIK, it's been in place since the general rules for the committee system of Congress were put into place a couple centuries back. It has survived even incredible abuses like staffers employed to correct grammar and punctuation being bribed by private industry to insert substantial changes that weren't discovered until after being voted into law.

    • ultranurd says:

      Part of it is also so they can get around the (as I understand it relatively complicated) scheduling rules, in order to rush "important" legislation. The bill they voted on yesterday was the senate vote to approve HR1424, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act that passed the House back in March, but with the 400-odd pages of bailout provisions amended. The house bill that was voted down on Monday (HR3997) was originally a simple affair to give tax relief to first responders and Peace Corps volunteers, but with the 100-odd pages of bailout text amended.

      I don't know how long it would take (or how many committee visits) to get a totally new bailout-only bill to the floor of either chamber of Congress, but probably a long time.

    • drakkenfyre says:

      Technically, riders are allowed in Canada, but it's more about the party system and deals made to have things passed. I think riders are more effective for reining in your own party and elements in the other party. With strict cabinet and party solidarity, there's no need for riders.

      /politics geek-out

  8. strspn says:

    At least we got tax credits for purchases of plug-in hybrid vehicles worth $2,500 plus $417 for each kilowatt-hour of battery capacity over 4 kilowatt-hours, up to $7,500 for cars under 10,000 pounds, or more for larger vehicles. (Division B, Title II, Section 205, page 190.)

    Yay.

    Assuming that the best lithium sulfur batteries are about 350 watt-hours per kilogram and liter (helpfully indicating that they weigh as much as water not counting shielding) that would mean you'd need to make those for about $139 a kilogram, including with extra shielding, which seems doable. I mean, sulfur is a waste product, and lithium and sulfur are both more common than zinc.