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The Fiscal Cliff Bill - Special Interests Profit While the Rest of Us Pay

It's like deja vu all over again.  The fiscal cliff bill, H.R. 8, was drafted behind closed doors, and lawmakers were given six minutes to read the 154-page bill before voting on it.  Once again, we apparently had to pass the bill to find out what's in it. (To see how your lawmakers voted, check HERE or check out your lawmakers' scores on FreedomWorks' Congressional Scorecard.)

The bill is a total mixed bag, with tax hikes and tax credits and tax extenders and a bunch of random, miscellaneous provisions.  Oh, and the farm bill too, a totally unrelated bill that should have been voted on as a stand-alone measure.

But more than anything, the so-called "American Taxpayer Relief Act" was full of corporate welfare - targeted tax credits and subsidies for companies and industries whose lobbyists have succeeded in acquiring loopholes for their clients.    According to the CBO, the bill actually spends $330 billion more than it takes in with the tax hikes. Much of this spending is for these special-interest tax loopholes that were scheduled to expire at the end of the year, but which will now be law for at least another year.

The Joint Committee on Taxation has broken down the costs of each provision in the bill HERE, but below are some highlights (all numbers are ten-year figures):

Business Tax Extenders:

  • $14.3 billion to subsidize research and development
  • $119 million for companies to hire Native Americans
  • $1.79 billion to promote business investment in low-income communities
  • $331 million for railroads to perform track maintenance
  • $5 million for mining companies to use for rescue training
  • $3.71 billion for "leasehold, restaurant, and retail improvements"
  • $248 million for film production expenses (yep, we're subsidizing Hollywood)
  • $358 million for "domestic production activities in Puerto Rico"
  • $222 million for rum production in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • $62 million for economic development in American Samoa

Energy Tax Extenders:

  • $7 million for plug-in motorcycles
  • $59 million for "cellulosic biofuel" research, including fuel from algae
  • $2.18 billion for biodiesel producers
  • $12.1 billion for the wind production tax credit (more on the Wind PTC HERE)
  • $154 million for energy efficient home upgrades
  • $650 million for energy-efficient appliance credits
  • $360 million for alternative fuels

Farm Bill (Direct Spending, 2013 only):

  • $5 billion in direct payments to farmers, most of which goes to subsidize large farm corporations
  • $1 billion in direct price supports for selected crops (wheat, sugar, etc.)
  • $10 million to encourage private land owners to grant public recreational access to their land
  • $25 million for 'organic' agriculture research
  • $100 million to research 'specialty crops'
  • $30 million to help new farmers and ranchers start up
  • $10 million to promote farmers' markets
  • $22 million for organic certification cost-sharing

While corporations and special interests receive billions of dollars of tax relief, this bill allows taxes to increase for 77% of Americans, thanks to the expiring payroll tax holiday.  Because Congress failed to extend the payroll tax cut, an individual who earns $26,000 per year will have over $500 per year in new taxes - that's $20 taken straight from each paycheck.

And the bill effectively raised taxes on every American because it failed to account for any significant cuts in spending.  After all, every dollar of deficit spending is a future dollar that someone will have to pay in taxes down the road.

John Hanson

I'm not blaming anyone party Democrats Republicans or independence this problem stems from many years of crooked politicians stealing our money. As soon as our politicians found out they could buy our vote with our own money and not theirs everything started going downhill. Social Security is about 15% of your income before taxes if your average was $30,000 over your working life that is close to $220,500 and if you calculate the future value $4500 per year using your employer's contributions at a simple 5%, after 49 years working you'd have $892,919.98 in your account if you took only 3% a year you receive $26,787.60 year it would last better than 30 years and that's was with no interest paid on the final amount on deposit if you bought in annuity and it paid 4 percent a year you would have a lifetime income of $ 2,976.40 per month. But the political machine in Washington has pulled off a bigger scheme them Bernie Madhoff or any other corrupt insider. They stole our money for there greater good.
Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements we have paid our premiums on Medicare all her working life, it is just government run health care gone amok. They know there's billions of dollars of fraud yet they do nothing about it they don't want to step on anyone's toes that might donate to their reelection coffer. They lied to us about Social Security saying the money was put in a trust, instead it went right into the general fund, on the trust part of it was we would have to trust them not to spend it Congress only owes us $1 trillion that they borrowed from the so-called trust fund.
now the real entitlements are congresses benefits such as free health insurance, 67 paid holidays, three weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days, junkets to foreign countries when they should be in Washington or in their home state taking care of business they don't even write their own bills anymore corporations write them and they just present them for vote, and most of our representatives don't even read them. they also get a pension after a couple years, if there thrown out of office due to ethics violations they still get their pension and you think we don't need term limits they should get no benefits absolutely none they make all her money on insider trading when they leave office there millionaires that's why they run for office there above the law if we did that we go to jail.
Talk about entitlements, California they have a $20 billion budget deficit yet the Supreme Court ruled that illegals can attend college and get benefits California's daily bulletin paper ran an article on the yearly cost of California taxpayers from illegals using hospital emergency room's for the general healthcare from one hospital alone it was $25 million.
All retired senior living on a fixed income receive no aid nor do they get any breaks.Our government and religious organizations pour hundreds of billions of dollars into foreign countries