Opinion Page / Op-Ed Article 2008 Archives
Ok, I know it's vogue to criticize congress and all that. And no matter your party affiliation, you can find something in the recent bailout bill that you don't like. I get it - it's easy to criticize from the cheap seats. But criticize I must.
Now I'm far from a know-it-all (just ask my wife), but there's an obvious provision that really should have been included in the recent bailout bill. In fact, it's so incredibly obvious that one must almost shake their head in disbelief - in absolute disbelief - at not only how it was missed, but also at what was included instead.
I don't mean to sound dramatic, but how else can you explain a bailout bill that (get this) includes an earmark to eliminate the excise tax on wooden toy arrows, but doesn't extend Section 179 into 2009?
Even though they go together in my thought process, let's look at these one at a time:
For starters, I can give Congress some credit for at least doing something. This is an economic crisis unlike any that most of us alive have ever seen, so any decisive action is to be applauded - to a point. But then when the dust settles, and the executives from AIG get back from their California retreat (by the way, did you have a nice time, fellas? You did? We're so glad. Just so you know, we'll be setting up the guillotine shortly..), one can take a closer look at the bill and find a bit of fault. A lot of fault, really. Like I said - it borders on disbelief.
Take the wooden toy arrow thing. In particular, Section 503 - Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children. (Page 263)
Essentially, the current tax law places a 39 cent tax on the first sale of wooden shaft arrows. It's basically a tax that is put into trust and given back to the states in the form of hunting grants and the like. So far that sounds reasonable.
Now, this tax, when enacted all those years ago, included all wooden arrows. Even toy arrows. And this bailout bill fixed that (no more tax on the toy arrows).
Now I know what you are thinking - what's the problem? It was stupid to tax toy arrows as hunting arrows in the first place. Good point - here's my rebuttal:
- The earmark was introduced by senators from Oregon , and will benefit a particular Oregon company (gee, there's a surprise!) In other words, this is the pork we are used to seeing. Now I'm not always against "pork", but you know, this bailout thing is kind of serious. Can our leaders just ONCE put aside the "Hey, this'll help my Podunk town, and I'm not voting for it unless it's there.." can they do that just ONCE??? I mean, seriously, we're talking possible depression here - @#$% Oregon .
- To include such an odd, obscure earmark, they must have really looked behind every tree and under every rock ( Oregon apparantly has lots of those) - but they were looking so hard for this small crap that they missed the biggie - Section 179.
That second point is really what galls me the most - eliminating tax on toy arrows is a toy solution to a real problem. If you want to really help American businesses, extend the increased Section 179 limits for another year. And hire an Internet Marketing Partner you can trust!