Stimulus For Everyone

The list of industries that are lining up for relief under the Obama stimulus plan gets longer and curiouser. It seems as if no group believes that it shouldn’t get direct relief from the government.

We already know about the homebuilders and the real estate industry in general lobbying hard for mega-relief. Last night I wrote about fat cat commercial real estate entrepreneurs pleading for assistance and of course we have the auto companies, banks, anyone that can pretend to be a bank, any and all green industries and I am sure I’ve forgotten one or two that have already been in the news.

Today you can add furniture dealers, carpet makers, biotech companies, hotels and get ready-every retailer in the United States. That’s right the National Retai Federation is suggesting that we have three periods of sales tax free shopping next year in March, July and October. Since the states are too strapped to forego the revenue, their proposal has the federal government reimbursing the states for the lost revenue. The sort of duty free period would cover everything except tobacco and alcohol sales. No doubt that would somehow be discriminatory, so look for them to sneak in as well and I say that’s only fair.

By and large most of these industries are playing a pretty smart game here. Instead of just looking for a handout, they want their stimulus enshrined in the tax code. The furniture makers for example want a $1000 refundable tax credit that can be used to buy home furnishings. The key word here is refundable. That means that if you don’t have a large enough tax liability to use up the $1000, the government will cut you a check for the shortfall. Naturally, these guys know that once this gets to be tax law there is zero chance that it will ever get repealed. Think of it as perpetual stimulus.

Now, don’t think that the incoming Obama administration isn’t on top of this. Just today, Joe Biden let everyone know that he wasn’t going to put up with any shenanigans.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that the Obama administration will not support “earmarks” in the package. While an earmark is usually considered to be a lawmaker’s pet project, Biden didn’t define what he meant.

“There will be strict accountability here. And there also will be no Christmas tree, notwithstanding the season,” Biden said, before a meeting with Obama economic advisers.

Let’s just file that one away for a while. It might be amusing to pull that quote out in a couple of months.

So, this whole thing has me thinking that there has to be a way to organize the blogosphere so bloggers can get in on this feast. A refundable tax credit for each and every blog reader makes perfect sense to me. Unfortunately, most of us don’t charge our readers anything so I haven’t quite worked out how the bloggers can make some money out of this one. If you have any thoughts let me know so I can get on with organizing this. 

more: here and here

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