Saturday, June 27, 2009


Plenty of it in congressional measures to "assist" the economy. Nice article by here detailing some of the provisions in the stimulus package to went under the readar.

The meat of the article:

Congress inserted the tax benefits for companies other than banks in a fog of confusion and panic after the House of Representatives rejected the first attempt to fund the bank support effort urged by then President George W. Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Rubber Stamped

Lawmakers rubber-stamped the package of arcane, if innocuous-sounding, tax items with one eye on the calendar. An election was only a few weeks away, and legislators were desperate to return home to campaign for their own re-election.

A year later, lawmakers and the public are just now discovering some of the curious subsidies tucked into TARP and the government’s other massive intervention programs. Four months after TARP took effect, President Barack Obama pushed through a $787 billion bill intended to pump up the nation’s economy.

That legislation included $20 billion in tax breaks for companies that produce energy from wind and other alternative sources as well as $1.6 billion in relief related to the tax treatment of canceled debt for Sprint Nextel Corp., the third- largest U.S. mobile-phone-service company, and other firms.

Like TARP, the stimulus bill was passed quickly, with little scrutiny.

‘Backroom Deals’

“You had this remarkable brief period with no transparency, filled with backroom deals being made and an absolute blackout of information,” saysJim Lucier, a senior political analyst at Capital Alpha Partners LLC, a Washington firm that tracks legislation for hedge funds and institutional investors.

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