Thomas Donlan writing in Barrons OnLine on the new bill that Democrats are saying will create jobs, close tax loopholes, and presumably bring about prosperity that will be "just around the corner:"
A classic example of the breed is the 20% tax credit for increases in research and experimentation. Supporters say it's an incentive, but it has never been made permanent, and it has been allowed to expire 13 times since it was first enacted. No corporation can count on its existence in any particular year, so it's only a reward for investments that would have been made anyway.
Other short-term loophole-extenders include the $1-a-gallon tax credit for biodiesel, accelerated depreciation schedules to reduce taxes for owners of restaurant and retail property, tax credits for maintenance expenses on small railroads, tax deferrals for banks and finance companies earning income in foreign countries, special tax treatment for movie-making and for auto-racing tracks and for a host of even more esoteric purposes. These are of intense interest to specific business sponsors and the lawmakers who carry water for them; most everyone else in the country neither knows nor cares.
Congress also opened a new loophole for the last remaining corporate sponsors of defined-benefit pension plans -- mostly those corporations with strong unions. The pension amendment benefits sponsors whose plans lost a lot of money in the stock market -- they will have extra time to meet funding requirements.
This kind of dishonesty is motivated by special interest donations to Democratic campaigns as well as giving the appearance that they are "doing something" about jobs. In this case, as in others, it would be immensely preferable if the Democrats did nothing lest they make the situation worse than it is.
If that's possible...
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky