When the Democratic Congress was loading the health care bill with sweeteners such as the Nebraska Medicaid exception (the Cornhusker Kickback) and other beauties like money for a new hospital in Connecticut, in order to buy votes, there was a nationwide outrage. Much of the pork, of course, remained, and one of the things I really don't like about the ACA is the amount of pork it spreads around. But there was outrage, especially from Republicans, and it did have some effect.
Now we have a Republican goal, extension of the Bush tax cuts, and the bill that emerges....surprise, surprise, it has a bunch of pork in order to buy support. Not only extension of unemployment benefits, but ethanol subsidies, investment credit, extension of child and marriage benefits....and the huge surprise of a one year reduction in the FICA payroll tax!! Where did that one come from? That I have to say makes no sense to me at all. We do not need more Keynesian stimulus financed by debt, and there is certainly no significant supply-side incentives created by a one year tax break that does not lower the marginal rate for anyone earning above the social security maximum earnings, a bit over $100,000. This one is truly a giveaway.
It really does seem that the Democrats and Republicans together are just trying to one up each other in how much money they can pretend to throw back to the taxpayers. Shameless.
But where is the outrage that we saw with the pork-laden health care bill?
Ah, hypocrisy. If one worries too much about all the hypocrisy in the world, one could work up to a real artery-buster.
If Obama wants to, I think the opportunity is there to show some real leadership by re-shaping the tax system.