Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Give it up for your deficit and mine...

Let's check into the "Tax Extender" bill.  As I have mentioned before the "Tax Extender" bill (HR 4213) includes the renewal of the biodiesel credit - something soybean producers are understandably anxious about.

The bill itself is an exercise in posturing according to some conservatives.
By allowing $31 billion of tax breaks to expire every year, Congress gives the appearance of lower future deficits. When the deficit was $161 billion four years ago, that would make a difference. Now that it's $1.4 trillion, it's a trifle, but Congress still goes through the exercise, just like a drug addict who requires ever increasing doses to get the same high. [More]

But wait - there's more.

In this line-by-line report (pdf) from the Joint Committee on Taxation (the revenue equivalent to the CBO on expenditure) check out the other items near and dear to our wallets. The first number is the five-year cost in $B.  

Update:  As I was falling asleep, I realized my howling error.  The numbers are in MILLIONS - not BILLIONS.  Which only changes everything.

  • ($854BM) Line II A. 2. a. Biodiesel credit [Note: this a 2-year cost ONLY]
  • ($148BM) Line II B. 4.  - Contributions of capital gain real property made for qualified conservation purposes [I have no idea, but it sounds ag-ish to me]  
  • ($798BM) Line II C. 7. - 5-year depreciation for certain farm business machines and equipment
  • ($205BM) Line II D. 1. d. - 5-year carryback of net operating losses attributable to Federally declared disasters
Compare and contrast with the much-derided health reform package (Affordable Care Act) which was scored as  deficit-decreasing.  Even if you consider the CBO figures bogus, the ACA still has long way to slide before it matches cost of just the ag provisions of this bill (add 'em up - it's at least $2T over 10 years and possibly much higher).

It's fair to staple our horrendous federal deficits to the White House Occupant, but it's also impossible 
 to deny the farmer fingerprints all over it.

I'll leave the original foolishness up as further chastening.  But what I can't figure out is why it jolted me awake just as I was dropping off.

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