The House passed the “rescue” bill today (rescue sounds better then bailout) that the Senate passed Wednesday night. That’s a good thing mostly.

Too bad the House didn’t pass the first version. THIS version has $100 billion in pork barrel add-ons to the bill.  How odd that after whining about the cost of the $700 billion for the rescue plan, they (Senate and House) add another $100 billion in pork barrel politics. That’s what happens when the original 3 page bill grows to over 100 pages (last version) to over 400 pages.

At least if Treasury Secretary Paulson does his job right, the $700 billion rescue plan should actually net $70 billion or so in profits when the Fed backed securities are sold so the bailout shouldn’t cost the taxpayers a penny.  The $100 billion in pork will vanish from our pockets in taxes, never to be seen by us again.  Congress should be ashamed.

The most famous bit of pork added to this bill is a tax break for wooden arrows used in archery programs for kids. “Critics of the add-ons were quick to see the arrow provision as proof of Congress’ inability to avoid putting self-serving and trivial items—read pork—in otherwise important legislation. In a poll of the worst items in the bill, the arrow provision was the clear winner.” (CNBC)

The elimination of the excise tax on wooden arrows for kids (like Boy Scouts use at camp) might actually be a good thing since Congress enacted a 43 cent per arrow excise tax on arrows that cost 30 cents each. The net tax rate ended up being 120%, outrageous by any standards.  The tax netted Uncle Sam only $200,000 per year and it was an unwieldy burden on kids programs. More here.

But I don’t believe for a minute that all $100 billion in pork barrel add-ons to the rescue bill make a lot of sense. After all of the political posturing this week by lawmakers who said they were so concerned about the taxpayers, it looks like they are back to business as usual.

Don’t you think it is time we vote out of office the individual politicians that add stuff like this to bill after bill?

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