Thank goodness our elected congressmen and senators know an emergency when they see one. Our Senators, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, along with Congressman Robert Aderholt voted against the $700 billion bailout last week. The rest of the Alabama delegation in the House of Representatives voted yes. It was an emergency, you know. We were told we had to do something and we had to do it fast.
Most everyone agrees the crisis came about because of poor decision-making and greed. Home loans were made to people who could make little or no down payments on the loans, as most folks do. Home loans were made to people who could not make the payment on those loans. It doesn’t make the borrowers bad people, in fact they were probably well intentioned. They wanted to buy a home and thought they’d be able to make the monthly payments. Many could not. It was an emergency you know.
There was no time to waste. Money to borrow was drying up and lenders were nervous so the government, who in a variety of ways pressured the nation’s lenders to lend to everyone who wanted to borrow, took action. The President offered a 3-page document and by the time both houses of Congress were done with it, the bill grew to 451 pages filled with tax breaks and pork. Our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren may never get it all paid off.
Here’s some of what’s included in the bailout bill:
1. A provision repealing a 39-cent excise tax on wood arrows designed for children benefiting an Oregon archery company.
2. A provision that will save NASCAR track builders $109 million this year.
3. Tax breaks worth $478 million over the next 10 years for movie and television producers who shoot movies in the United States.
4. A $33 million tax break for companies that invest in American Samoa, benefiting tuna canners.
5. Section 308 of the bill provides a tax rebate on Rum produced in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
6. Section 211 provides a $300 dollar tax credit to employees for costs associated with bicycle commuting including purchase and repair of a bicycle.
As you can clearly see, all of this was emergency stuff. Our markets — indeed, life itself — would have ground to a halt if our Congress had not acted immediately.
I read today that you should never watch politics or sausage being produced. Observing either will turn you off of them forever. I’ve seen sausage being made. I got over that and will, on occasion, eat sausage. I’m finding politics less palatable these days.
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