Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Monday, February 28, 2005

Congress ought to keep eyes peeled for black helicopters 

luscious salad

Reproducing enough of a P.J. O'Rourke piece in last month's Atlantic to get in the punch-line of the last paragraph,

Something that confirms all fears and many conspiracy theories about government is finding out what our elected representatives would put into law if they could. Especially if they have an item of must-pass legislation trapped like a foie gras goose and are able to force-feed it with as many special-interest provisions as they like. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 - an alteration of the U.S. tax code that Congress was required to make to bring the United States into compliance with World Trade Organization agreements - is such an item.

... Congressman Charles Rangel (D- NY) succinctly characterized the bill: "It stinks to high heaven." It passed 280 to 141 in the House and 69 to 17 in the Senate.

Title I of the American Jobs Creation Act repeals the export subsidies in question. But the legislation continues for another 626 pages.

... Builders of U.S. warships can defer taxes on their profits until the ships are complete. ("All done now, Secretary Rumsfeld, except for the tippy-top of the mast. We'll get to that first thing in 2054.")

Among many, many other hornswoggles is tax relief for nascar track owners, ceiling-fan importers, archery-equipment purveyors, and fishing-tackle-box manufacturers. Plus, "sonar devices suitable for finding fish" are "not treated as sport fishing equipment." Meaning, I guess, that they can be deducted as office equipment.

On Capitol Hill, legislation carefully tailored to the needs of a tiny constituency is sometimes called a "Redheaded Eskimo." He is in the Jobs Creation Act under "expenses paid by certain whaling captains in support of Native Alaskan subsistence whaling."

... If I were a congressman who had voted for the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, I'd claim it was forced on our country by a sinister international organization. I'd announce that the face-pierced anti-globalization window-busters and the gun nuts with skinny sideburns and New World Order paranoia were on to something. And if the voters in my district ever actually read the bill, I'd hope that one of those UN black helicopters would come get me, quick.

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