The Fiscal Cliff Oink!

Once again, America has been fed another pile of manure.  In the pretense of avoiding the “fiscal cliff” Congress could not avoid doing what it does best – wasting taxpayer dollars.

Stuffed within the “deal” that Charles Krauthammer calls  a “complete rout for Democrats” and ‘“complete surrender” for the GOP, are:

  • pork$430 million for Hollywood through “special expensing  rules” to encourage TV and film production in the United States. Producers can  expense up to $15 million of costs for their projects.
  • $331 million for railroads by allowing short-line and  regional operators to claim a tax credit up to 50 percent of the cost to  maintain tracks that they own or lease.
  • $222 million for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through  returned excise taxes collected by the federal government on rum produced in the  islands and imported to the mainland.
  • $70 million for NASCAR by extending a “7-year cost recovery  period for certain motorsports racing track facilities.”
  • $59 million for algae growers through tax credits to  encourage production of “cellulosic biofuel” at up to $1.01 per gallon.
  • $4 million for electric motorcycle makers by expanding an  existing green-energy tax credit for buyers of plug-in vehicles to include  electric motorbikes.

In addition,  an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office reveals that the deal  actually contains $330 Billion in new spending over the next 10 years. More than  half of the new tax revenue won’t go to plugging the deficit, but increasing the  size of government.

The deal adds around $50 Billion in new spending this year, primarily an  extension of unemployment benefits and the “doc fix”, a measure to prevent cuts  in Medicare reimbursements to doctors. The deal also includes an extension of  various tax credits first enacted in the stimulus bill.

The so-called “deal” did nothing to prevent a temporary reduction in the Social Security payroll  tax from expiring.  In 2012, that 2-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax was  worth about $1,000 to a worker making $50,000 a year.

The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington research group, estimates  that 77 percent of American households will face higher federal taxes in 2013  under the agreement negotiated between President Barack Obama and Senate  Republicans.    High-income families will feel the biggest tax increases, but many  middle- and low-income families will pay higher taxes too.

More opportunities for Congress to layer on more  pork will happen in the first three months of 2013.

If you loved the fiscal cliff drama you’re going to love the fight over the debt limit, which if not raised soon will cause the country to default, prompting another “doomsday” scenario.   The only person looking forward to this is  Obama  – he’s already promised that if there is a fight – he’ll just borrow the money he needs and pretend Congress doesn’t exist – pretty much like he usually does.

Then you can buy an extra bottle of aspirin to deal with another drama –  the sequester which Congress pushed out another two months.  If something isn’t done, automatic spending cuts totaling around $110 billion will kick in.

And let’s not forget the continuing budget resolution which will expire in March.

I keep telling myself things have to get better but I don’t think that is going to happen in 2013.   Politics is a game and Politicians are by nature liars –  but that doesn’t make it any easier to live with.


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