Friday, January 23, 2009

Senate Finance Committee work on stimulus bill

As promised, the Senate Finance Committee has released its preliminary proposal for its portion of the fiscal stimulus package. Frankly, it is not easy reading, but here it is, split into four documents:

That last document is the closest to being readable, it is titled "Tax Relief Included in 'The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan." The first document goes into the gory details.

Note that even these documents are not the actual bill, but semi-readable summary documents for people to review and the guidance for staff to go forward. The actual bill will be presented for "markup" on Tuesday, January 27, 2009.

Note that the almost-official name of the bill is "American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009." The initials are A-R-R-T-A. I guess we can start calling it "arta."

Oh no... I just noticed... the name used in that fourth document, admittedly a less formal document, is "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan", the initials being T-A-R-R-P, awfully close to the much-maligned TARP plan. Maybe somebody's idea of a joke. Sigh. But, that is not the official name, yet.

When Congress gets done with this thing it is going to look like a cross between a Christmas tree and a sausage. Got that visual image? Something for everybody, something for everybody to hate, and what comes out will not look like anything that went in. But, the truth is that this bill has only one real purpose: to spend a lot of money as quickly as possible and as widely in the economy as possible.

-- Jack Krupansky


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