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Incorrect Reporting of the Process, probably right about the sleaze, though

Can I get this off my chest? It’s all over now, and there’s no particular point to whining about it, but you know how all the news articles said that in order to get the Seven Hundred Billion Dollars through the Senate, they had to add A Zillion Dollars in Sweeteners? That’s a lie. Or it’s as close to a lie as dammit, so in effect, it’s a lie.

And an obvious lie. I mean, aside from everything else, it isn’t even plausible that anybody came up with all the pork-barrel crap in that bill between the House vote and the Senate vote. Seriously, is it within the realm of imagination that a tax break for children’s wooden arrows was negotiated with the Senators from Oregon and inserted into the bill in order to get their votes? And if it was, why did they only get one Senator to vote yes? Was the other Senator holding out for another ten bucks an arrow?

No, look. What happened was this: it is blatantly unconstitutional for the Senate to pass a financial rescue plan that hasn’t already passed the House. All money bills must start in the House. That’s the rule. But the House wouldn’t pass it, and the Senate would. So they cheated.

They took the hundred billion dollars in tax breaks that they already had sitting there and stapled the seven hundred billion dollars onto the back of it, and pretended that it meant that it wasn’t a new bill at all, just a little change in the old one. That’s pretty sleazy. And of course as a result instead of the tax break stuff getting passed on its own, or getting rejected, it was held hostage to the so-called rescue plan (one of those interesting grammatical structures in that it wasn’t a rescue, and it wasn’t a plan, but it sure was a rescue plan) so that anybody who wanted to vote for the pork-barrel stuff had to vote for the plan, and veezy verzy. That’s pretty sleazy, too. And yes, the Senate did just happen to have sitting around a bill for hundred billion dollars in tax breaks for exporters of wooden arrows for toy bows and other worthwhile causes, just in case some controversial bill or other needed to be attached to something nice and porky. That’s pretty sleazy as well. But it’s how the Senate works, and none of it’s a particular surprise.

And I’d also like to say this: if this business of “larding up” the seven hundred billion dollar pork roast is that contemptible, surely the two groups who escape such contempt are (a) Representatives who voted for the bill without the added lard, and (2) Representatives who voted against the bill with the added lard. In other words, there are about twenty people who could seriously be identified as having voted to pass the bill because of the sweeteners. They mostly belong to one political Party, I can’t remember its name, something associated with unpopularity and failure, though.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Not to worry -- it appears that the bankers don't want our money, if it means their golden-parachute severance packages disappear. So that $700 billion just might not get handed out, after all.

Yeah, I keep forgetting that the $700B is a budget ceiling. In theory, if we decide to Do the Right Thing, the Congress can lock the barn door with at least some of the horses still inside.

Because I half suspect that in another week or two, we may be ready to talk about doing something that will actually alleviate the real problems of having overstated our wealth by 30% or so over the last twenty years, rather than just continuing to claim that the money really is there, somewhere, maybe in our other pants.


I think you may have qualified for the inside baseball playoffs. But aren't tax measures also supposed to start in the House?

Some reps may have voted against the first time to send a message, which is the reasoning being used to support repealing the MA income tax on the ballot in four weeks. It's not like voting down the bailout stopped the bailout, and nobody believes the MA wouldn't immediately reinstitute the income tax, so it's a safe vote the first time.

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