I have this romantic, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” hope for Congress.
In this dream I picture congressmen and women debating and voting based on what they perceive to be right. It’s a dream where principles and philosophies guide them. But this isn’t just a dream — it’s a pipe dream.
In reality, Congress is full of wheeling and dealing. I’ll vote for that if you give me this. The fiscal cliff compromise bill is the latest example of this kind of politicking. The legislation was supposed to be about spending and taxes and in some ways it was. But the 150-page bill contains a slew of tax breaks and credits for various industries including Hollywood and NASCAR.
Here are a few examples:
• Movie producers can save up to $430 million if they film in the United States under a rule allowing them to expense $15 million in total costs for their project.
A seven-year recovery period for certain motorsports racing track facilities has been extended so NASCAR can save $70 million there.
• Algae growers are going to receive a $59 million credit to produce cellulosic biofuel.
• Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands will see $222 million in excise taxes returned to them for rum produced there.
• Railroad operators could receive as much as $331 million in tax credits to help maintain tracks they own or lease.
None of these have anything to do with the congressionally created fiscal cliff. But it’s all part of federal law showcasing the favor-for-favor type of politics that exists in America.
Another example is the Hurricane Sandy relief bill. On the surface it sounds noble. In reality, the bill is anything but. Much like the fiscal cliff law, it too is filled with special projects. Most of them have nothing to do with Hurricane Sandy relief, like:
• $8 million so the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department can purchase new vehicles and equipment.
• $41 million earmarked in the bill to fix up military bases, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Hurricane Sandy didn’t strike Cuba).
• Perhaps the biggest doozy — almost $11 billion for future transportation needs (not needs created by the storm).
Even relief bills that appeal to the emotions are riddled with unnecessary projects.
Of course, this is all going on while the nation really needs to start cutting spending. Instead of putting the needs of the nation first, politicians are funneling money into projects benefiting themselves and their districts.
They don’t even make any attempts to hide it because it’s no secret the American government spends more money than it receives in revenues.
Nor is it a secret that Americans want a larger, more expensive government than we are willing to pay for. We’re asking for Saks Fifth Avenue government for Walmart prices.
The politicians are more than happy to oblige.
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match