At least the Wooden Arrow “Bailout” Was Bi-Partisan

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Earmarks Pork

The final Bailout plan to save Wall Street - and perhaps the nation - included a substantial amount of fat. None of these earmarks received sharper criticism than the one aimed ensuring manufacturers of "wooden arrows designed for use by children" do not have to pay an excessive excise tax. Section 503 addresses the burdensome prospect.

Bloomberg News first reported that Senators attached a provision repealing a 39-cent excise tax on wooden arrows designed for children to an historic $700 billion financial-markets rescue that passed tonight by a vote of 74-25. The provision, originally proposed by Oregon senators Ron Wyden [D] and Gordon Smith [R], will save manufacturers such as Rose City Archery in Myrtle Point, Oregon, about $200,000 a year.

It's one of dozens of tax breaks benefiting Hollywood producers, stock-car racetrack owners and Virgin Islands rum-makers included in the broader legislation in an effort to win support from House Republicans, whose defection contributed to a rejection of an earlier version of the legislation two days ago on a 228-205 vote.

For their part, both Senators Wyden and Smith deny they had anything to do with attaching the "wooden arrow" provision to this bailout measure. Wyden is hoping voters forget about this "measure" come November 2010 when he is up for re-election. He's probably already off the hook considering he didn't even vote in favor of the bailout proposal when it went to final vote Friday.

Gordon Smith may not be so lucky. Voters in Oregon will determine whether he serves another term come next month. Smith had initially supported the bailout bill prior to the "arrow" provision being added, however.

In case you missed it, here was some more of the most useless pork added into the final version of this bill:

Wool: As if pork weren't enough, how about them there sheep?  This earmark reduces tariffs for U.S. makers of wool fabric that use imported yarn, worth $148 million over five years. The measure was pushed by Reps. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., and Melissa Bean, D-Ill.

Exxon Valdez: Plaintiffs in the suit over the 1989 oil spill could spread their tax payments on punitive damages over three years, cutting their tax bill by $49 million. The measure was backed by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.  Wonder how Governor Sarah Palin thought about this one...or did she?

American Samoa: Allows certain corporations to reduce their tax liability on income earned in American Samoa, at a cost of $33 million over two years.  Does Samoa have a Main Street?

Hollywood: Extends a tax break for film and TV companies that keep their production in the United States, worth $478 million over 10 years. The provision was originally pushed by Rep. Diane Watson, D-Los Angeles.  This one maybe we can live with if it creates jobs in the United States. 

Jagajeet Chiba,

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