When Katie Couric asked Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin about whether taxpayers should fund the $700 billion federal bailout, Palin gave an answer that, at the time, seemed odd. She said the bailout bill, designed to help pump money into the struggling financial market, was the solution for health care reform, job creation, reducing taxes, reigning in spending and even alluded to helping aid foreign trade.
I, like many of you, laughed when I saw that response. But it's not funny anymore. Palin may actually have had a point.
The final version of the bill had measures tacked on to it that had NOTHING to do with the bailout. These "tax extenders" included $200 million for rum makers in the Virgin Islands, removing a 39 cent tax off of wooden arrows for children, tax breaks for people who ride bikes to work (paging Alex Cameron!) and the list goes on and on.
Why did an emergency bailout bill that started out as three pages swell to 451 in a matter of hours? Because in order to get fellow lawmakers to vote for it, Congress threw in everything but the kitchen sink.
Just one day after the House of Representatives shot down a version of the same bill, Senators pulled in out of the trash and slapped on every single "extender" they could think of to get it through the senate. It worked. Senator John McCain even talked up the resurrected bill and the extenders in a phone message to Representative Mary Fallin hoping to shore up support. (Click link to watch story) http://www.news9.com/Global/story.asp?s=9109843)
Fallin and Rep. John Lucas who nitially voted against the bailout changed course and approved it, along with the massive pork attached to it. It cleared the House and was signed into law by President Bush.
Perhaps someone in Congress should come up with a "clean bill measure" to pass just the intiative proposed without anything else included to sweeten the pot. But I shudder to think what loophole our lawmakers would come up with to get that on the President's desk.