Bailed Out...or Sold Out?

"Will it work? We'll see..." With that less than inspiring statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members of the House of Representatives this afternoon that they needed to pass the Senate's version of the massive $700 Billion bailout bill.

The statement shows clearly that most of the people voting on this bill have no idea what its impact will be and highlights the incompetence of those serving on Capitol Hill. Within minutes of her speech, the House passed the bill which is certain to drain the US Treasury and saddle taxpayers with the bill for years to come. The entire process boils down the blind leading the dumb.

The House had voted down the bailout bill earlier this week. It obviously wasn't bad enough for them. But after three days of hard work, the Senate managed to take the House's bill, which was a pig, and turn it into something really horrible by stuffing it into a tuxedo. The bill ballooned from its original three pages to more than 400 pages that are now laden with an additional $150 Billion in pork-barrel spending. 
In Pelosi's speech this morning, and again at a press conference after the vote had been taken, she had the audacity to say that the House had taken a bad bill and made significant improvements to it. Well, if she wants credit for those so called improvements, we should give it to her.

But were they really improvements?

You decide.

The final bill included the following pork:

* $2 million dollars in tax breaks for wooden arrows manufactured for children in Oregon.

* $100 million in tax savings for racetrack owners who will now be allowed to depreciate their facilities over seven years.

* $192 million rebate on excise taxes to producers of Puerto Rican and Virgin Islands rum.

* $148 million reduction on tariffs for wool yarn for US manufacturers of wool fabric.

* $49 million reduction on taxes paid by the plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez lawsuit.

* $33 million reduction in taxes on corporate profits for American corporations earning money in American Samoa.

* $478 million tax break for film production companies that keep their production in the United States.

* Mental Health Parity clause requiring health insurance companies to cover mental illness at parity with physical illness. This will likely drive the cost of health insurance up.

And this is just a sampling.

The bill also contained a tax break for bicycle commuting, an extension of a solar tax credit, tax breaks for alternative energy, another one year moratorium on the Alternative Minimum Tax for nearly 20 million families and a host of other things.

There is something in the bill for nearly everyone.
While you may agree with some of the measures included in the bill, the fact remains that each of these items should have been taken up separately and allowed to pass or fail on their merits. That didn't happen here.
About the only thing included in the bill that actually belonged there was an increase in the amount of FDIC insurance. Accounts will now be insured up to $250,000. This provision is designed to help restore faith in the banking system.
Unfortunately, with all of the add-ons to the bill, neither the Senate nor the House took the time to make changes that could have actually improved it. Changes such as not allowing any of the $700 billion to be used to by troubled mortgage backed securities from foreign investors as such purchases will do nothing to help the US economy. Or changing bankruptcy laws to allow judges to reset the terms of a mortgage on a primary residence. This would have allowed millions of people to stay in their homes and provided an incentive to lenders to renegotiate mortgage terms on the bad mortgages that they gave consumers. Also, it would have cost taxpayers nothing.
When all is said and done, nobody knows if the bailout will work. But because neither the Congress nor the White House seems to understand what is in the bill, or how the economy works, they have done everything then can to try to insure the bailout fails.
As a footnote to all of this bad news, Nancy Pelosi also told the House that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) would be holding hearings to determine the origins of the country's current economic problems. He need look no further than in the mirror to find those origins.

Congress is the body that has the ultimate regulatory authority in this country. Because of lobbing efforts by lenders, banks and the financial industry, they have failed miserably in their responsibility. Those who voted to deregulate the financial services industry to the point that our current economic woes could have occurred in the first place deserve to be fired by the American people and should be thrown in ja
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