At least $23.8 billion in corporate tax breaks have been included in the $825 billion economic recovery package in order to win backing from key business groups and their Congressional allies, even though the team that put the legislation together believes the breaks have little value in stimulating the economy and creating jobs.
Top beneficiaries include banks, telecommunication companies, railroads and oil, hotels, casinos, and both commercial and residential real estate firms.
“Everyone knows these provisions are not going to do much, but some members of Congress need to be able to say ‘the bill has a business tax cut.’ So we put them in,” said an Obama transition team architect, adding that the corporate breaks were carefully written to be temporary so that the drain on the treasury will be brief. According to another source: “This is just one of those things that you do to get a bill passed. It may not be pretty. We are talking about billions, but in reality it’s only a tiny fraction of the whole bill.”
Yeah, $23 billion is just one of those things. The Republicans are railing against Democratic provisions of the stimulus bill, while we’re quietly adding pork to keep them happy. Republicans don’t do “happy.” What they do do is smell, and prey on, weakness. At some point, Democrats need to start acting like they won the election – hell, they need to start acting like they won the 2006 election too.
And actually, a report on Obama’s meeting today with House Republicans shows that the GOP is out for blood, not for compromise.
In a rare closed-door Capitol meeting Tuesday afternoon, House Republicans pelted Obama with questions about tax cuts and deficits, and sources inside the private session say the president rejected their call for compromise on the tax section of the $825 billion economic stimulus.
One conservative House Republican in the room was asked if Obama was winning any votes: “Nope. He said he won’t compromise on more tax cuts. All form – not substance.”
Let’s clarify for a moment what the GOP is saying. Obama carved out 40% of the stimulus package to tax cuts in order to woo Republicans. This, even though many are saying that portions of the tax cut proposal will do little to stimulate the economy. Were the Republicans wooed? No. They want more, or they say they’re walking. Gee, what a surprise. You unilaterally cave to a bully and offer him a pay off, before you’ve even started negotiating, and suddenly he wants more. Perhaps Obama thinks he can spin this as “bad faith” on the part of the Republicans. And perhaps he can. We shall see.