DC feeding frenzy
Lame-duck Congress gorges
By DANIEL J. MITCHELL
Last Updated: 4:18 AM, December 16, 2010
Posted: 10:35 PM, December 15, 2010
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The biggest extender is the ethanol credit, a boondoggle that distorts agriculture markets and causes considerable economic and environmental damage, but is popular with politicians because big agribusinesses recycle some of their undeserved profits back to Washington in the form of contributions.
The dozens of other extenders include special loopholes for solar and wind power, education spending, bonds for Louisiana and NASCAR racing.
There are strong policy arguments against these kinds of special tax breaks, especially since we could use the revenue to finance lower tax rates — but most people are even more upset by the dead-of-night process used to put these goodies into the tax bill.
The behavior on Capitol Hill reminds me of the movie classic, “Animal House”: After their fraternity has been placed on “double-secret probation,” John Belushi and the rest of guys at the Delta House decide to go out in a blaze of glory with a toga party.
Likewise, the politicians on Capitol Hill just got placed on the equivalent of probation by a Tea Party uprising. Yet rather than mend their crooked ways, they’re throwing a massive party with our money.
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Pitchfork and torches time!
Why do we permit “lame ducks”?
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